Tag: Writing

My Three Cents: On Adult Coloring Books

January 16th, 2016 — 7:05pm

I’ve been blogging in one place or another for the past decade, so my opinion is automatically worth more, right? Right?? 

Over the Christmas holiday, Amazon’s top selling “books” were adult coloring books. This distresses me because A) Amazon has a category issue; I don’t consider a coloring book to be a “book” in the same way I don’t consider a book of sudoku puzzles to be a “book”, and B) adults have turned to something so simple as a means of creative entertainment.

Before I get into the meat of this, I’ll preface by stating I’m no literary snob. While I prefer certain books over others, I think there is just as much literary value in James Joyce’s Ulysses as I do Stephenie Meyers’ Twilight. Reading material is supposed to entertain first and foremost. If it manages to teach, enlighten, and encourage conversation, that’s wonderful, but it’s first purpose is to entertain. If a book can’t do that, it fails before the reader has even picked up it.

Today’s diatribe, however, isn’t actually about what constitutes a book and what doesn’t. My gripe is that grown people are choosing coloring books over alternatives for a creative outlet.

Coloring gives people an opportunity to be creative without any of the necessary talent that goes into drawing or painting or even writing something from scratch. Coloring provides a sense of accomplishment that is normally reserved for those who have spent years honing a craft, which troubles me greatly. Rather than put forth the effort necessary to practice drawing or painting or dancing, adults turn to the coloring book because it is quick and easy.

If I’ve griped about anything throughout any of my blogs, it’s that I find most facets of adulthood to be difficult, so I fully understand the difficulty in finding the time to practice the skills needed to have a true creative outlet. I’ve had a piano in my apartment for 7 seven years, but I can hardly tinker anything familiar on it, and even after a brief stint of attempting piano lessons, I’m still no good at reading base clef. I’d love to take up painting, and after a random morning at home and watching a Bob Ross episode on PBS, I may still try again, but as many others often find themselves saying, “I just can’t find the time.”

Most adults could find countless options for a creative outlet, but the ones who don’t put everything else ahead of that need. While I can understand the stresses of work, spouses, children, cleaning the house, keeping up on laundry, maintaining the lawn, remembering to call Grandma on her birthday, and so forth, everyone can carve out time to work towards a creative outlet, but few do using many of the aforementioned excuses. What truly perplexes me is that the same people who can’t seem to find the time to practice writing poems or practice drawing, still somehow find a block of time to sit and color in an adult coloring book.

Coloring within the lines requires little creative effort. Creating the actual designs that go into coloring books, however, requires months or years of effort. In a society constantly looking for the easiest routes to success, I suppose I shouldn’t be surprised that people opt for the simplest path.

So, why do I complain that grown folks are opting for coloring books? I don’t look down on the exercise as a means of mental calm. I understand that it can be quite soothing, but so can many other creative outlets. I can’t get past the first few stanzas of Moonlight Sonata on the piano, but after a little tinkering with a tune found in a beginners practice book, I have a harmonious simple tune that I can play by heart when the moment warrants it. While working on any “major” writing project can bring its headaches, sitting down to create a new story from the beginning just because I can do it is more freeing than anything else I experience in life. A hectic life needs a method of calming the mind, but there’s nothing that suggests that that method has to be as simplistic as the adult coloring book.

Everyone needs a creative outlet. Whether it be writing, dancing, photography, learning, or (in the case of my mother, with whom I discussed this post in the midst of writing) applying customs law in creative ways, everyone needs a creative outlet. One doesn’t even need to be exceptionally good at said outlet either. Like I said, I can hardly read base clef, but it doesn’t stop me from playing the one song that I can play on the piano. I may never get published, but it doesn’t stop me from writing whatever I want whenever I want.

Creative outlets provide a mental calm in a hectic life and past the elementary school years, one can do far greater and better things to achieve that mental calm than pretend to be artist while filling in lines created by others. Stop taking the quickest, easiest routes towards a sense of accomplishment and put forth just a little effort. No one will hang the completed coloring book page from a 30-something on the fridge, but they may find delight in an original creation.

There’s a very real possibility that I’m missing something fundamental in the adult coloring book, but then…this is still my three cents on the issue.

1 comment » | Article, Rant

I Dream of Writing

December 31st, 2014 — 8:55pm

From kaitco.wordpress.com:

I’ve been using the Lift.do app for much of the past eighteen months. In addition to helping me make flossing, bible reading, and some form of exercise daily activities, it has also given me a graphical display of my writing activities over the last year.


Towards the beginning of the year, I seemed to be writing almost daily, but from August through the remainder of the year, I’ve been declining month over month. It’s one thing to have an inkling that one hasn’t been writing much, but seeing it forces acknowledgement. Of all things I aim to correct in 2015, one of the most poignant will be to correct the above graph.

My lack of writing, however, has given rise to an incredible epiphany about myself.

Lately I’ve been growing a bit concerned about the dark and violent nature of my imagination. When left to simply create out of nothing, my imagination always defaults to something dark and dreary. I noticed it with my NaNoWriMo attempt this year where I decided to write about pedophile serial killer seeking help for his deeds. Last year’s NaNoWriMo was hardly better as I simply started with “Once upon a time…” and 5K words in found myself writing a story about a young boy escaping into his dreams as he is being abandoned by his family. I’m still unsure why my imagination, when left on its own, falls into these dark places and that’s something I’ll have to ponder and pray about at another time. This could arguably be to blame for my reduced writing in the latter part of this year, but I know outright laziness when I see it.

I’ve also been having these very detailed recurring dreams which I almost never have. I hate dreaming entirely because I never dream about horses or flying or living a happy life in my elder years. My dreams are almost always just as dark and horrible as my default imagination, but they often include very realistic circumstances involving people I love.

I had one dream several years ago where my mother and I were walking across campus and she suddenly collapsed. I tried picking her up and dragging her to find help and then I noticed that Death was following us. I then proceeded to drag my comatose mother all across campus, in and out of dorms and classroom buildings, trying to run away from Death. I had another dream about a dear friend of mine, who had just been married and was pregnant at the time. I dreamt that I arrived at work and my co-workers surrounded me to comfort me as they told me my dear friend had been killed in a motorcycle accident. That one was so horrible that I actually woke myself up screaming and I had jumped out of the bed and stood around my bedroom for a few minutes before I understood that I’d just been dreaming. These are just a couple examples of the ones that have stood with me over time, so needless to say, I hate dreaming.

My recurring dream, like most of them, can be easily interpreted. I was in college at the time I had the dream about my mother and losing her would have been incredibly difficult for me, at any time really. My dream about my friend occurred because usually when things are going perfectly for too long, I expect something horrible to happen. My recurring dream includes a mixture of current racial tensions in the country and my own frustrations about my life’s limitations. The end doesn’t seem to make a lot of sense to me yet, but I’m hoping to forget the dream sooner rather than later.

Despite having a mild understanding of what my recurring dream meant, I started searching online for a dream interpretation forum; something, anything, to help rid me of this recurring dream. In my searching, however, I started to think about what was really bothering me. It’s not the dreams themselves, because I know what they mean, but it’s the fact that I’ve been having these horrible dreams far more frequently than I’ve ever had and they’re recurring.

So, I posed myself some questions. Why was I dreaming so much?? What’s going on in my life that’s causing this? Is it a change in diet? Exercise? Music? Television? What?!?

No answer came to me immediately, so I focused on other things, namely my writing habits as I saw them in the Lift app and then it finally dawned on me: Reduced writing has given my brain no other storytelling outlet and thus, has left all the creative thoughts that used to be spent on a writing project with nowhere else left to go, but into dreams.

It sounds fanciful at first, but I came upon this realization in a slightly empirical manner. As I hadn’t been writing as much I should have been, I initially aimed to fix it by enacting what I called “No Write, No Reddit.” I procrastinate way too much on Reddit and so, I figured that preventing myself from viewing Reddit unless I’d written at least 100 words would kick start my writing and this actually worked. I started writing for a few days and, though it hadn’t occurred to me at the time, I had no dreams during this time. Unfortunately, after a few days, I started to get busy and I stopped writing and Redditing altogether. Then, the dreams started again and then they started to recur and the dreams even included a few slight deviations…almost as if my brain was trying to perfect or edit the dream.

After recognizing the correlation between writing and dreams, I tried to make sure I didn’t go more than 48 hours without some kind of creative storytelling and, Lo! the dreams have stopped. If were really a scientist, I’d test myself further by ceasing all creative activities again, while maintaining consistent diet, exercise, sleep, etc., and then see how long it took for the dreams to restart (and, I still may as that sounds very intriguing), but like I said, I hate dreaming and a simple hypothesis works well enough for me.

I’ve asked God recently about my writing endeavours and had considered giving up the craft altogether to focus on other ambitions, but I think I might have received my answer.

I’m a storytelling through and through. Whether I tell these stories aloud or commit them to the page, they will form and with nowhere else to go, they will internalize and haunt me either way. So, on I’ll continue.

Whether I publish or not, I’m still a storyteller and, if for no other reason than my mental well-being, I’ll continue to tell my stories until the end.

Comments Off on I Dream of Writing | Deep Thought, Favorite, On Me, Writing

My brief flirtation with LibreOffice

November 4th, 2013 — 3:07am

I’ve not written here in ages, but it is time for another review.

In my zeal to have full computing capabilities available in the thinnest, lightest form, I bought a Mid-2012 MacBook Air back in January. Initially, I was in love with the thing despite being staunchly anti-Mac since middle school, but when I began to utilize it for “real” work, I started to remember why I have always claimed that I hated Macs.

As an aspiring author, I write all the time and all writers who don’t wish to waste forests of trees and rivers of ink need proper word processing software. The de facto has been, throughout my lifetime, Microsoft Office Word and, despite disliking what Microsoft has done with the product line in the past six years, I’ve come to depend on Word like I depend on Firefox. So, in using my new Mac, I sought out Mac Office 2011, thinking that since it was Microsoft-produced, I would have the best option for document compatibility and “ease” of use.

Mac Office 2011 sucks in ways that would require a completely separate domain, server, and blog to explain entirely. To put it succinctly, Mac Office 2011 contains everything that you dislike about Office 2010, with none of the familiarity, and none of the features available in Mac OSX since Snow Leopard. What irritates me most is that Microsoft could have easily ported Office 2010 to Mac OSX without hardly deviating from the original product, but they refused. Note, that the blame for Mac Office’s lack of usability and general crumminess lays with Microsoft, not Apple.

With Mac Office acting barely usable, I sought other options for word-processing on the Mac. Pages was a possibility I considered right up through the last two weeks, when Apple made drastic changes to their iLife products. I tried Pages through iCloud in Safari, but gave up within ten minutes as I could not find simple a word count utility and nothing about the application brought any familiarity. Additionally, Apple insists on keeping all of its users within its “walled gardens,” which does not trouble me on iPhone/iPad because of the multiple workarounds, but is intolerable with a full laptop. Apple refuses to allow Dropbox integration with its apps, thus everything I’ve carefully organized and used with Dropbox on multiple platforms, operating systems, whatever, is unavailable to me when trying to use Apple’s Pages. Here the blame rest entirely on Apple and it was here that I began to once again mumble to myself, “I hate Macs.”

As neither Apple nor Microsoft could offer me what I wanted, I turned once again to LibreOffice. I say “once again” because I’ve experienced this application several times in the last decade with mixed results all placing me back into Microsoft Office’s slow, bulging, buggy arms.

Back when OpenOffice.org was whole, I found gross incompatibility with Word documents, few of the fonts available in Office, difficult to use features such as Word Count, and corrupted files upon going back to Office. I later tried LibreOffice when it was first forked from OpenOffice and still found that it was not anything close to Office’s usability and quit once again. Some time even later, however, I began to play with using Ubuntu and LibreOffice, installed with the operating system, was attempted again before I gave up and finagled Wine and Office 2007 to work relatively well together.

With my fifth or tenth or so attempt at LibreOffice, I was determined to make this application work for me as both Apple and Microsoft had spectacularly failed me. I installed LibreOffice 4 on both PC and Mac and spent an hour tweaking Writer on each operating system to make it as close to Office 2010 as possible.

My initial impression this time around was moderate joy over how LibreOffice had improved over the years. Built-in Word Count utility, default fonts from MS Office, and perfect Word doc compatibility through Windows, Mac OSX, and Ubuntu. At last! I had hit the jackpot! Then, I began to melt into the fictive dream and write like normal…

First came even more tweaking and searching and further tweaking to counter app deviations that were not immediately obvious. Then, I had to resign screen space in Windows and Mac OSX to some immoveable toolbars. The final straw, however, came with Autocorrect.

Writing in a plain text word processor provides straight apostrophes and quotation marks that, lacking the technical term here, do not have “curves” that are typically used in writing drafts. I have no issue with this, but I cannot stand a mix. Either all of the marks in a document are plain text and straight or all have “curves,” but a mix of the two completely throws me when I’m writing. I found myself paying closer attention to whether LibreOffice’s Autocorrect was automatically correcting these marks than on my actual writing and, even after triple checking Autocorrect settings, I was often forced to stop in the middle of prose or dialogue to adjust what LibreOffice called a grammar issue due to Autocorrect failing.

I also use ellipses when I write. A lot. I’ve remained conscious of it, but when I need to use them, I need them. LibreOffice’s Autocorrect includes switching three periods … to an ellipses, which is a very specific character that looks similar, but is functionally different in word processing. The problem is that unlike MS Office, LibreOffice does not take into account Autocorrect “wildcards.”

For example, three paragraphs above this text, I used a word and followed directly with an ellipsis, “normal…” In MS Office, the three periods directly following a word is auto-corrected in the same manner as it would be if it was typed “normal …” with a space between the word and the ellipsis. LibreOffice does not do this. To LibreOffice, “normal…” becomes a grammar issue that I have to stop and correct because the Autocorrect does not recognize that, despite coming after another character with no space between them, three consecutive periods should be automatically corrected into an ellipsis.

These may sound like minor trifles to an average user, and they very much are. To a high school kid writing a two-page essay on The Scarlet Letter, these aggravations would hardly be worth mentioning. To a writer, these minor trifles completely disrupt the flow of thought, which renders the application unusable.

Often times, when seeking to write with no distraction or interruption of any kind, I will utilize Microsoft’s Notepad application just to get down my thoughts without regard to grammar, redlines under spelling issues, or paragraph, spacing, and font. Ultimately, I have to take whatever I write in a blank atmosphere and add it to a true word processor to make the proper literary adjustments and continue writing from there. That word processor must include a Word Count and page number utility, it must be compatible with Microsoft Word’s formatting, and it must enable one to write without the need to pause the writing experience to fix what the application should be able to do on its own.

A word processor should be able to correct simple errors, like “teh” for “the” and three consecutive periods for an ellipsis, without the writer’s intervention and sadly, LibreOffice is still not quite there.

It could be argued that after several months’ use, I could grow accustomed to these differences, but I see no reason to force myself to ignore problems that should not exist in the first place. Were I further along in my programming knowledge, I would hack the application myself or even be so bold as to make the specific recommendation that the LibreOffice team focus on perfectly mimicking Office’s simple functions before adding all the bells and whistles.

I suppose no application will ever meet the expectations of everyone all the time, but I’ve never had to return to Microsoft Office with such dread since I began using Windows 95 versus the old typewriter my mother let me play with as a child.

1 comment » | Article, Rant, Writing

Dorienne vs. the devil

August 22nd, 2011 — 1:36am

Re-posted from my WordPress.com blog:

Every Sunday for the past three or four years, I’ve had a personal ritual that took me close to a year to recognize. Each Sunday following church, I require a three to five-hour nap. The nap by itself is nothing remarkable as many people take naps on weekends because the time is available, but I am not a nap person. The only time I end up sleeping during the day is when I’ve gone the last 28 hours without sleep and I have to go to sleep; I don’t nap. Every Sunday, however, I require a nap following church.

This Sunday nap only occurs on Sundays when I go to church. After going the entire month of July without setting foot in my church, I’ve tested this empirically and came to a conclusion I suspected long ago, but never had the opportunity to truly examine.

What’s fascinating is that I’m not doing anything that would require sleep on a Sunday afternoon. I usually get a full-night’s sleep Saturday evenings, the drive to the church doesn’t take any longer than the drive to first-job , I don’t wake any earlier than I do during the week and most weeks I don’t do much more than clap a little, sing with the choir a bit and take notes from the sermon. Logically, there’s no need for this Sunday nap, but when I sit down and really consider what is happening to me each Sunday morning, it makes perfect sense.

My current schedule with first-job makes it virtually impossible to visit my church throughout the week, so the only time when I have an opportunity to enter God’s house with the specific purpose of praise is Sunday morning. Every Sunday, however, I run into a gamut of emotions and “whisperings” in my ear that would prevent me from attending church.

First comes sheer laziness, as my bed is never as warm and comfortable as it is when I have to leave it to go to church in the morning. Adding onto that laziness comes procrastination which comes in the form of everything from checking all my e-mail accounts to perusing every single Facebook update from the past sixteen hours, even those I’d read the previous day, and on occasion even finding my way to StumbleUpon or Twitter to really waste the morning.

On Sundays when I make it to church, I must actually battle through all the negative, lazy thoughts and the onslaught of procrastination thrown in my direction just to get myself to the shower. Even after that, I’ve got the slow haul of getting dressed and putting on my makeup and, in that time, all these thoughts of “Wow, you’re already going to be late. You probably should just give up for now.” flow through my head. Some weeks, I give in to this line of thinking and don’t get to church, but when I pray about it the previous night and I set my mind to it, I can usually push through all of this and can get out the door.

Once out the door, a hunger, that I never usually meet so early in the morning, can often set in and all these desires to make pit stops along the way to church come to mind. Perhaps a stop at McDonald’s first? Maybe I’ll just stop at the Walgreen’s real quick to get something? Still, if I focus on the task at hand, I can get to the highway and finally get to the neighborhood where my church is.

My church’s neighborhood is not in the best of places, but that is where God put me and despite my best efforts to go elsewhere…that is where He put me. That said, when I come close to that neighborhood, thoughts of safety sometimes spark. “It’s really not safe for me to be out here” is most common, but even within three minutes of the church I can still get thoughts of all the million other things I’ve got to do that day and given that I’m already late…well, perhaps I can just get there next week when I’ll be on time?

After I push through all of this, I get to the church parking lot and on most days, I’m usually fine once I can see the finish line, but even there, I can still be tempted. Some weeks, I’m almost an hour late for service and the desire to not appear to be one of “those” Christians is deep and on one disastrous occasion, even caused me to just drive home, even though I was already there! With that memory in the back of my mind, thoughts of “You’ve done it before” and “You can always go next week” continually filter into my mind. God is good though and it is rare that I’ll turn away once I get within thirty seconds of the church doors, but still…it takes quite a bit of effort just to get out of the car.


All I do on a Sunday morning is get up, get dressed and go to church, but the act of doing all of this is a battle. It’s a weekly battle that gets no easier as time continues; in fact, it gets more difficult the longer I try to walk in line with Christ and, after a morning of stepping around the mental boxing ring with the devil, by Sunday afternoon, I’m completely exhausted and I just need a nap.

I wrote 714 words today (window popped on the screen from “himebrit”) and, while I had to battle to write them, that fight is nothing compared to the one I’ll face next when it’s time to go to church again.

Comments Off on Dorienne vs. the devil | Deep Thought, Favorite, Jesus

The Potter’s House

March 20th, 2011 — 11:57pm

I wasn’t actually listening to the song tonight as I wrote but I thought the title fitting for this post. I’ve always adored the song because the lyrics just help me see that there’s always “someone” to help me in dire matters:

Verse 1:
In case you have fallen by the wayside of life;
dreams and visions shattered, You’re all broken inside.
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in;
the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

Verse 2:
In case your situation has turned upside down,
and all that you’ve accomplished, is now on the ground.
You don’t have to stay in the shape that you’re in;
the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

You who are broken, stop by the potter’s house.
You who need mending, stop by the potter’s house;
give Him the fragments of your broken life,
my friend, the potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again

Joy in the potter’s house.
Peace in the potter’s house.
Love in the potter’s house.
There is salvation in the potter’s house.
There is healing in the potter’s house.
There is deliverance in the potter’s house.
You’ll find everything you need in the potter’s house.

The potter wants to put you back together again,
oh, the potter wants to put you back together again.

I went to church today and even got there a little earlier than I have in the past and I realized that when I’m struggling and depressed, for some reason the last thing I ever think of is turning to prayer to help “put me back together again.” I have my little prayers throughout the day or if I’m ever contemplating that one day, I’m going to die and transform into another state of energy and existence, but when I’m in most need of real, focused prayer, my mind is on everything else. I can never sit down and really think things through and have a full “conversation” with God to guide me through the frustration.

However, this is really just a personality flaw in that I hate asking for help…from anyone and this is the reason why it is important that I always attend church and make Sundays a day of rest. It’s only by going to “the potter’s house” that I feel complete again and can see everyone of my struggles and troubles in the proper light. I’m not sensible enough to pray the way I need to when I need to, so I need to go somewhere specific to forcibly give my thoughts the clarity needed to make strong decisions and still remain a child of God.

My struggles with first-job: totally insignificant. My priorities true priorities have not changed since before my career began to make these upward strides and I know I can’t allow first-job to deter me from them. I need to get back into the Word and read like I want to learn again and I need to shift my focus on being the writer I want to be. I’ve got too many distractions swimming around me and as hard as it is to say it, I’ve got too many “worldly” people in who I turn to instead of turning to prayer.

I wrote 305 words today (last words:then it’s one less thing you have to worry about) and every one of them was made only by the grace of God. I need to remember this every time I write and I need to renew my focus on not just getting through this era of my life as I march onward to my life goals, but to march onward as a Christian. So, I’m going to take the fragments of my broken life and hand them to the Potter because only He can put me back together again and make me Dorienne I’m meant to be.

1 comment » | Jesus, On Me, Writing

In vain

February 28th, 2011 — 2:29am

Pasted from my wordpress.com (since I’m not talented enough to create for two blogs right now):

One of the more fascinating things about writing a novel is crafting the personalities and voices of the many characters that appear on the page. What I find simultaneously enjoyable and frustrating is the physical act of creating dialogue that I could never even imagine myself saying.

In Damen, this comes about most often while writing Corey. Corey is crass, blunt and curses like the proverbial sailor, yet when I write dialogue, I often need to whisper the words back to myself to make sure they make sense, and when a character is so unlike myself that it’s rather sickening, I feel dirty even writing what he would say. That is to say, I used to feel dirty when writing Corey’s dialogue. I’ve now grown accustomed to it and can easily separate my own voice from Corey’s. Damen, however, is far different.

To make him a character all on his own, I gave him “life” by giving him small pieces of my own personality. Since Damen is not an autobiography, however, he is a completely different person with a voice and history all his own. I go to church often (not as often as I could and should, but we’re all Christ’s works-in-progress) and I try to thank God for all His gifts every day of my life. Damen, on the other hand, rests somewhere on the line between agnostic and plain atheist. So much has happened in his life that make him doubt that a creator could have any hand in the machinations of his world and the fact that he has had none of the religious reinforcement that many others his age would experience, has tainted him even further against God and all religion. And so, he when he swears (and when he’s still reeling in Corey’s influence, it’s very often), Damen will often use the Lord’s name in vain.

My mind and heart make great conflict over this. The mind says that words on a page are simply that and as long as I don’t go around screaming “Godd***t!” all the time, I remain clean. On the other hand, the heart that helped me walk out into the church aisle years ago, crying as I went to the altar to join the church, knows that it is wrong to use the Lord’s name in vain in any context. If I’m writing it, I’m saying it, even if I do skip over those words and phrases as I whisper dialogue back to myself and thus the battle continues.

This reminds of when my 16 century Brit-Lit class was studying “Faustus” and the effect of being an actor in the play during a time when folks were far more religious than they are now. The actor playing the titular character would have to call upon the devil to make Mephistophilis appear and whether one is acting or not, there is still that innate worry of “calling upon the devil.” While I have stopped blatantly swearing and using God’s name in vain years ago, the mere acting of writing such dialogue is difficult to the point that I go through four or five waves of typing and backspacing as I decide whether or not to have Damen think “Jesus Christ!” in a moment where he is clearly not praying. Even typing that last sentence used to get across my point gave me pause.

I can’t say that I’m completely indoctrinated as I have only come to the church in the last five years and had written off myself as an agnostic prior to that, but I must say, each time I’ve got a choice between staying true to my character and saying what I know to be wrong to say, I struggle…a lot.

I wrote 626 words tonight (his first extracurricular conversation about a novel since his father had passed) and when a moment called for Damen using God’s name in vain, somehow my heart took control and I’m glad I found a better way to say I wanted. That said, I’ve still a lot of Damen’s character to unleash and eventually, I’ll be pressed with the same battle again.

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A good start

January 4th, 2011 — 12:18am

With only laying out just two major goals for myself as of 1/1/11 (be a better child of God and write every day), I think I have done a decent job so far: I managed to get to church on Sunday and I’ve written something every day.

I suppose now is as good a time as any to set some real goals for myself, though not for the year, but for just the month. A year is a really long time when you think about it and so much can change in a year. Houses could be bought and lost, weight could be lost and gained again, families could be shattered or started…a lot can happen in just 12 months. So, since I am desiring a change (one of them being the current theme of this blog and the state of DorienneSmith.com), I think the best way to set goals is to create some realistic ones and follow-up once a month to make sure I’m on track.

This month’s goal, on top of the other aforementioned daily ones, is to get a least a twenty minute workout at least once a week. It doesn’t sound like much, but after this weekend, I realize I may need to start slow.

I was playing Kinect with my little cousins Friday night and Saturday morning I was in so much pain that I could barely move. At first I thought it was just some new side effect of a caffeine headache, but then slowly I realized that it was just moving around with the Kinect the previous night. I have been so sedentary these last five or sixth months that just fifteen minutes of activity that I used to be able to do at a moment’s notice was too much for me. I was worn out after the first round of games with the kids and, while I’m no spring chicken anymore, there’s no reason that just a little physically activity should leave me in paralyzing pain the next day. It’s time to stop the madness.

A workout a week is barely anything at all, but I at least have the plan to place what I need to go straight to the gym after work in my car so that I’ll have no excuse. Hopefully next week, I can stretch it two weeks and maybe even add a new goal, but if I can just manage this through January, I can look back on the start of this year proud of what I tried to do for myself.

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A new year

January 1st, 2011 — 11:59pm

Pasted from my wordpress.com:

I made it to see another year! Go me!

I was just going to post something to have something entered, but then I thought, “Dorienne…you know you need to write something today.” so I did. I got through exactly 1200 words and decided to break my mid-point in Chapter 7 into Chapter 8 after all, especially how I ended the previous part. It just read like the end of a chapter.

I wasn’t able to finish the laundry or about half of the full cleaning that I wanted before I left for Watch Night service last night, but I at least got the laundry sorted and the house straightened to the point that it feels clean, even though there’s a ton of dusting, etc. that needs to be done. I would have done some work today, but after trying to fight the headache, shakes, slight hallucinations and nausea that come with trying to detox from caffeine, I pretty much got nothing accomplished except for my 1200 words. I also played Kinect last night with my little cousins and, given that I hadn’t done any real exercise in close to two months, every single muscle in my body is screaming. It took me half the day to figure out if the pain was just from running around the house or if it was a new piece of the caffeine withdrawal, but when I remember all the running and jumping I did with the Kinect, I got completely psyched to get mine on Monday.

The interesting thing about writing is how difficult it is to get started when I haven’t written in a while, which explains so many of my lulls in 2010. I only went about 3 1/2 days without writing and I had to listen to only instrumental music to help my mind focus before I was able to construct a sentence. Previously, I’d go three or four weeks without writing anything and would then be surprised that I couldn’t get motivated to write anything worthwhile. I suppose one of my main lessons of 2010 was that I have to write every day. Even if it’s just a quick 200-word blurb, I have to get those juices flowing.

Well, it’s a new year and a new opportunity to get things done. In 2011, my goals are God and writing. If I can keep those things in focus, I’ll do just fine.

A PS to myself: I’ve got waaay too many drafts sitting on this blog. 2011 will see far more posting at this blog. 🙂

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An update

May 9th, 2010 — 2:56am

…because it was time.

I’ve not written on this blog in almost a year. Not for lack of love, I might say. I’ve got at least seven drafted posts just sitting and waiting; most are completely outdated by now.

No, the absence of writing was mostly due to simply too darn much happening at the same time. In 2009, I buried four relatives, stopped watching any and all television and completed a very rough draft to what I hope to be my first novel. I’ve also become an “every so often” church member; I’m not proud of this by any means.

A part of me feels this blog has run its course, but on the other hand, I know I’ve got plenty more to say.

I suppose I sound a bit unsophisticated and rough since I’ve just finished a rather lengthy blog post about Star Wars (yeah, it’s insane how big a geek I am now), so I’ll make this short. About four years ago, I started something on Mother’s Day and it worked out pretty well for me (the whole making an effort and finding Jesus, thing), so this Mother’s Day, I’ll make a new commitment, a commitment to write.

I’ve got much to say and, if I keep my creative juices flowing…well, I’m not entirely sure what will happen, but either way, I’d just like to keep writing.

I’ll see what happens from there…

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25 random things about Dorienne

February 12th, 2009 — 11:18am

In the spirit of doing things because “everyone else is doing it,” and since I have been tagged several times with this, I have created one of these lists:

1.) I am a computer nerd. I love everything about programming and teaching myself new things through trial and error just gets me all a-tingle. I also love the idea that making one mistake can cause the remaining code to implode on itself. It takes the love of striving for perfection to a new level.

2.) I am a grammar nerd, too. There is something about the written word that fascinates me to no end. Watching languages evolve (eg: the use of chatspeak, WTF? OMFG! or lolcat phrases, I can haz new wordz nao! in everyday language) through new technology stimulates me and plays very well with the computer nerd that comprises me.

3.) I love musicians. Anyone who can sing or play any instrument captivates me. There is something about music and it’s ability to cross cultures and withstand time that makes me love those who create it. It is almost like a language of its own…a language I can discover more interesting things about on my computer…

4.) I find half the fun of writing stories in doing hours of research into the most minute of details. For example, in my fanfic novel, Flight, I have Olivia playing the cello because I love musicians, however, I don’t play the cello nor have I ever seen one in real life. The DAYS of research I put on my computer into learning minor cellist lingo gave me more joy than actually writing the two sentences that involved the detail.

5.) I flip flop between a desire to have children or not, often. There are days when I pray that someday I will be a godmother and only a godmother, but then I have these moments when I really, REALLY want two boys and a girl. Or just two boys. Or just one boy. Or maybe just one godson…

6.) I am a Christian, but I often feel more comfortable amongst atheists and agnostics. It is almost as if being surrounded by them reaffirms my faith. I wish I could understand the logic behind it.

7.) I detest things I cannot explain or understand. I think that is why being a Christian, ironically, works best for me. Without Christ’s blessings, I would never be able to have the slightest comprehension of death and would fear it right up until my last breath.

8.) I believe organized religion has done more to corrupt Christ’s work and teachings than any unbeliever ever could or would. I am very much a Christian, so I’m not sure if that makes a whole lot of sense, but it is how I view the church on whole.

9.) The imperfection of my human body disgusts me. I don’t mean it in a sense that my weight is not where I want it to be or I lack any control over my hair outside of braids. I mean it just irritates me that this body has to sleep or the mind just begins to deteriorate. The idea that I have to eat or else I get headaches that tell me, “Yo! Time for food!” or that I have to use the bathroom or take shower (gross, I know.) or, again, sleep, when there are so many other things I could be doing during at the same time is just very frustrating.

10.) The shows I “heart” most are the ones I scrutinize hardest. SVU is the only show I watch on television right now. In fact, this past summer, when SVU was on reruns, I only turned on the television once to see what was happening to the weather as a part of Ike hit Ohio. Since I love SVU as much as I do, it literally pains me when I watch an episode that is boring or just doesn’t make sense. It must be perfect. The acting, the writing, the cinematography; everything MUST be on point or else it is total FAIL.

11.) I admire intelligence before appearance. It took me a while to realize this. I found myself having these teen-like crushes on men who were three times my age with no hair and age spots just because I could see glimpses of how brilliant their minds were.

12.) I carry a chapstick on a “chapstick lanyard” on my keys at all times. That way, there is no chance that I will ever be somewhere and chapstick is not available to me. THAT would surely result in psychoses of epic proportion.

13.) I wake up every morning and tell myself the same thing. “You are the most intelligent and most beautiful person in the world. Now, go show everyone else.”

14.) I’m incapable of maintaining long-lasting relationships. If I haven’t called, e-mailed, texted, PM’d or poked or responded to you in a while, it’s not that I don’t care. It’s just not in my nature to carry on “knowing” people once I no longer see them on a day-to-day basis. Sad, I know, but such is Dorienne.

15.) As tech savvy as I am, I own a VCR. WTF, you say? I no longer have cable, so I if need to tape SVU, I’ll need TAPE SVU. Plus, I’ve acquired about 25 8-hour tapes of nothing but the mothership Law & Order and I need to watch them on something.

16.) @15 – I cried when Jerry Orbach passed away. For a very long time.

17.) I have a set of characters in a series that I have been writing since I was ten years old. I have literally grown up writing these characters. Creepy, no?

18.) There are some days when I forgot how young/old I am. I feel much, much older. Like I am actually about 43 years old instead. It gets kind of depressing when I feel like I’ve passed the 40th birthday milestone, but have accomplished so little in my life.

19.) Since I watched The X-Files religiously from age 10 to age 18, I can honestly say that show shaped me into the person I am today. Explains a lot, doesn’t it? 😉

20.) I abhor everything about Micro$oft, which is why I spell it with a dollar sign. They are just crap and, while I use Firefox and had tried using OpenOffice (it just can’t keep up), it still bothers me that I have to use anything made them.

21.) I am currently going through this phase where I am totally “in to” webcomics. Right now I am reading Questionable Content, xkcd, Wasted Talent, Pictures for Sad Children and Jay Naylor’s Better Days. Google them! They are all kinds of awesome.

22.) @17 – I play my sims in The Sims 2 as one large neighborhood that evolves at the same time. I’ve been playing the game for four years and I am still working on the first generation. I’ve “known” some of my sims longer than I’ve known some of my friends.

23.) I don’t like fancy crosses. I have several crosses in my house and I wear one around my neck that I never remove. ALL of them share a common trait in that they are very, very simple. The cross on which Christ died for our sins was rugged, bare and simple in its own right, so crosses that are interlaced with diamonds or are so ornate that they qualify as “bling” just confuse me.

24.) There are currently 487 discs in my Netflix queue. If I have a new disc sent to me every single day for the next year, I will STILL not have watched everything I have queued. It is well worth it, though. Their service is full of win and I like just watching random movies or TV shows on DVD throughout my week.

25.) It took me a week and a half to find 25 random things to say about myself…sigh…

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