Losing sucks…BIG TIME!

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Wow, okay…so the US election didn’t go as I expected. AT ALL. But, is there anything positive to be found in tonight’s result?

I’m Canadian, so I shouldn’t be this invested in the US election. It’s not like I have a horse in their race, but US Politics touches just about every aspect of the Global Economy. Every decision the US government makes, often has far-reaching consequences across the globe, for better or worse, and besides, I really, REALLY hate everything the Donald stands for—and I mean EVERYTHING. Sorry if you disagree, but fuck it, I’m allowed to be angry and bitter tonight.

For the past year, I’ve become addicted to US politics on the news and social media, almost to the exclusion of everything else. I passionately hated Trump because I believe he’s a narcissistic bully with caveman ideals, and I desperately wanted Hillary to win because I share many of her values and I believed she’d continue an agenda of progressive and forward thinking goals. I basked in the mutual admiration society on Hillary’s Reddit page, and snickered and sneered at the people I saw as misguided morons on Trump’s page. I slept well at night because the polls told me the candidate I wanted would win, and the one I hated was destined for the humiliating defeat I felt he deserved. So this is why I feel bereft, shell-shocked, and horrified that Trump has won with a resounding landslide…and not just the white house, he won EVERYTHING…the house and the senate. There will be no stopping him—make no mistake—whatever side you’re on, the world has changed tonight, for decades to come.

Now, as I sit here in disbelief, feeling sick, I’m wondering what the hell happens from this point on?  I feel silly on one hand, because really…I didn’t care much about any other US election and I didn’t care when Hillary lost to Obama in 2008, so why am I so upset about this one?

Unlike many Never Trump people, I don’t believe Trump will push the nuke button, but I do believe that he and the GOP lean towards fascist, religious zealotry, and they are going to abolish things like a woman’s right to choose, gay marriage, and acceptance of refugees, to name a few. I also believe this win gives the alt-right fanatics and white supremacists who supported Trump, a voice and place at the policy making table—something they should have NEVER had.

I’m also sad that Obama’s legacy will be burned to dust in a matter of months, even though he has one of the highest approval ratings in history. I’m devastated about what is likely to come over the next four years of total Trumpian Republican domination. And yet, it is what it is, and nothing I do or say is going to change one damn thing. (There’s irony about over-confidence, gloating, and complacency in here somewhere for all of us HRC supporters, but I’m wallowing in too much self-pity to look for it).

So, the real question for me now, is how to detach from it for my sanity and my blood pressure? Why is it so hard to stop watching and reading the news, and instead spend my online time doing constructive things like research or learning more about things I’m interested in—you know, those things that will actually make a difference in my daily life? Why do I find myself wasting hours each day pouring over Reddit pages, and reading people’s comments with rapt attention—grinning when they make me feel like my side is winning, and getting angry when someone advocates for the “enemy”, all while losing all interest in actually doing “things”?

Who the fuck knows? I sure as hell don’t. All I do know is that I’ve spent years trying to live by the Buddhist ideals of inner peace and karma, where a central concept is that nothing is either good or bad, it just is, and everything we experience should be treated as a gift. I’ve lectured friends and family, when they were going through hard times, to step back and try to see what can be learned from it, and how it’s a gift to move forward. I’ve been trying to follow my own advice for the past few hours without much success, and I suppose the truth is that me simply writing this post, is acknowledging how my obsession with another country’s politics has been an excuse to not do the creative things I keep saying I want to do. Why that is, will be the next thing I have to figure out.

So be it.

If the shock and disappointment of losing something I wanted so badly, forces me to put my own personal growth back to the top of my priorities list, then I may come around to admitting that the election of Donald Trump to the most powerful political position in the world, might just be the one thing that finally severs my addiction to the internet. But, Jesus H. Christ, Fate…you’re telling me you couldn’t you have found a better way? Sheesh!

And…there it is…a conveniently sound excuse not to feel like a total idiot for wasting the last twelve months obsessing over someone else’s destiny. Ain’t the ego-preservation game, grand?

Melancholy Monday

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Yep, I’m participating in Nanowrimo again this year, and the story I’m writing has a decidedly dark tone that’s colouring my moods these days. So, what better way to waste time than find photos to match with some of the more melodramatic and melancholy quotes coming forth from my own dark places.

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Worlds, Wonderful Worlds…Maps, Glorious Maps!

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This is a quick post to share a couple of fabulous links for my fellow world-building enthusiasts, especially those who are artistically challenged – like me.

I’ve been re-working an older story of mine for a couple of months now, a kind of Sci-Fi Fantasy hybrid, and I’m learning for the first time what a monumental task it can be to build a credible, vibrant new world/universe without getting bogged down in the details (read frustrated because my brain hurts trying to make it make sense). It’s a wee bit daunting.

Wait, no, that’s an understatement – it’s fucking hard as hell, and yet, I’m loving every goddamned, painful minute of it!

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Awesome animation that shows our place in the Universe…

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For my fellow space nerds…

My astronomy geek self is in love with this visual representation of how expansive and alive our universe is, while my arm chair philosopher self loves how this puts our significance in the greater scheme of things, into perspective. Our obsession with money and power seems pretty silly if we stop and and think deeply about what our higher purpose should be (hint…it ain’t buying “stuff”).

Space, the ultimate affluenza vaccine.

 

I only have one thing to say to the Syrian Refugees…

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Finally, something in the news this week doesn’t make me ashamed to be a white woman living in a first world country.

ARTICLE: Plane carrying Syrian refugees arrives in Toronto http://www.cbc.ca/1.3360154

Call me sappy, I don’t care. Today hit me in the feels…big time. For most of the evening I’ve been watching the news about the Syrian refugees arriving here in Canada, and it’s made me all teary and emotional.

I’ve never been prouder to be a Canadian than I am today. Seeing the new arrivals greeted by friendly, welcoming faces, I can only imagine the sense of relief these families must feel after spending months and years in a frightening kind of shell-shocked limbo. It’s a feel good moment we desperately need to bury the hostile and vicious Islamophobia that’s dominated the news of late, and I’m proud of our media for making this story a priority, and for showing this issue for what it truly is…one of humanity.  Continue reading

Warning: Strategic Voting Rant Ahead

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Well, the longest election in modern Canadian history is finally over, and Justin Trudeau’s Liberals achieved an amazing and historic result — with a side of warm fuzzies (or indigestion) for anyone who remembers and loved (or hated) his father, arguably our most polarizing and famous prime minister ever, Pierre Elliott Trudeau. That said, I don’t want to talk about political opinion or the ramifications of who won and lost, but I do want to rant a little bit about a new election phenomenon that bugs me — Strategic Voting.

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UCLA Class Review: Novel Writing I, II, III

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Well, aren’t you lucky? This is a three for the price of one review, i.e., you don’t have to slog through three of my posts to get the lowdown on these three core classes. I took NWI, II, and III back-to-back and decided not to write any reviews until they were all completed because they aren’t stand alone courses. You don’t have to take these classes over three subsequent semesters, and there are pros and cons with that choice. If you do what I did, then you’ll have the same instructor (and many of the same students) all the way along, and if you stagger them, you can choose a different teacher (and get different students) each time.

TL;DR – Class mantra: Keep Moving Forward. If you’re interested in novel writing you can’t beat these three classes. You’ll end up with at least 100 pages and enough feedback to do hours of revisions afterwards. The instructor was excellent. I enjoyed having the same one throughout, and I enjoyed having the same group of fellow students with me along the way. Awesome class, awesome teacher, awesome end result. If you’re thinking about it, don’t hesitate. You’re welcome.

The Detailed Version:

First, these are mandatory for the UCLA Fiction Writing Certificate, but I recommend them to anyone interested in, or struggling with, writing a book. They focus on writing your novel, and at the end you’ll have completed at least one hundred pages with ample notes and feedback for revisions. The pace is fast because you’re required to produce around 14 pages of your draft every two weeks, which means you don’t have time to linger or worry about perfecting and tweaking. It forces you to keep moving forward, which is something many of us struggle with when trying to write our magnum opus. Continue reading

CHANGE: Recognizing the Right Path

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CHANGE

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It’s been so long since I wrote anything on here, I’m surprised a cloud of cobwebby dust didn’t blow up in my face when I cracked open the laptop. At least I have a good excuse for writing diddly-squat for so many months — I gave up my job, my house, and my comfy life to move across the country for my husband’s job transfer. Continue reading

The Art of Slowing Down

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Growing up as a child in the 70’s and 80’s, I experienced the rise of technology via the first HP touchscreen personal computer, complete with plotter—a printer that used little felt pens to create pictures and text documents (of course, we just used it to input our birthdays for a unique, colourful spiral-gram). My most enduring memory of that computer, is when my dad brought it to my grade three class for show and tell. We still have the thank-you card my class made for him, which is pretty cool.

My father worked in the technology business, so we had all the firsts: first Macintosh, first ColecoVision game system, first Motorola cell phone that was ridiculously huge, the first VHS player, followed by the laser disk player. Needless to say, the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree, and I turned into a hardcore techie. Currently, I have an iPhone, iPad, Macbook, iMac, and Kindle. My husband is just as bad.

However, like so many people these days, I’m starting to resent it all — big time. With the intrusive nature of email, text messaging, and 24/7 internet access, there is no such thing as down time, and it’s become sensory overload. There is rarely a moment when my laptop doesn’t have several windows open, along with at least a dozen Safari tabs. Oh sure, it’s not being forced on us, and it’s a conscious choice to use all these gadgets, but really, it’s become a daily habit that’s hard to moderate because it is necessary. Very few people can manage to live off the grid. It’s just not realistic, and I wouldn’t want to do it full-time.

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Invent thousands of years of history for a fictional civilization? Hell yeah! Bring. It. On.

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So, if I set aside the questionable odds of actually accomplishing this monumental task, it turns out creating the history and mythology for a fictional race of beings is an unexpected treat. How liberating it is to let the deeper, philosophical me run wild with impunity. Continue reading