I don’t have a topic for today. I haven’t had any of the little epiphanies of the sort I usually turn into posts. So instead I’m going talk about a few different moments from the week. Maybe these little vignettes will show a narrative in the end, if I’m lucky. Let’s see where we end up this time.

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I’ve started the second set of my alpha reader’s edits. These ones were given to me by my mother (thanks mom). I have to say that a few years ago, very early in the process of writing my novel, the idea of my mother reading it was terrifying. To specifically ask her to look at it critically would have been unthinkable. Not out of fear of any kind of cruelty, to be clear, but only because the more I love someone, the more I value their opinion of me. That intensifies the fear of doing something they might not like.

Now, I’m finding it fascinating to see where my thinking aligns and differs from that of my mother. There’s a lot of places she’s noted things and I’ve already made that same change. She’s suggested a lot of word choices that I look at and think “Yes, that’s definitely more what I was going for here.” So much evidence of sameness and similarity, I love the feeling of connection it gives me. Of course, there are times I disagree with her changes, but I’m liking that too. In giving my mother my book, and letting her see a bit of what lives in my head, I feel like I’m getting some glimpses of the same from her. Every time I share my writing, I receive unexpected gifts in return.

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A few of us in my writer’s meeting yesterday were talking about how several of us haven’t been writing much new stuff, for various reasons. One friend said he was out of practice with writing, being too busy with the editing of an anthology he’s putting together. I found that I disagree with that sentiment, that I no longer think that the only way to practice writing is to write. Reading is practice. Editing is practice. Going to the meetings and offering critique for my peers is practice. Any time I spend thinking about words and the way they’re put together is practice.

I tend to have a narrow view of the definitions of things, so I’m happy to see this expansion in my mind. Sometimes I get upset with myself for the fact I’m not doing any new writing at the moment. This expansion of what it means to practice gives internal value to what I’m doing, even if it’s not new writing. One less thing to beat myself up over, which is always a win.

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My week has been full of the people around me doing creative things, and it’s kind of wonderful. A friend who makes hilarious movies featuring himself and our friends is running his annual filmfest to celebrate weird, independent, no-budget backyard films (TerribleFest from Riot at the Movies). Another friend is preparing opera solos to sing at Easter for his church group. I got to watch the first trailer a friend created for a podcast she’s starting. My sister sends me pictures of the amazing creative journal layouts she makes. Another friend from my writing group just launched his second book (Sorrow & Shroud, by James Downe).

So many dedicated, creative people around me. It’s wonderful energy to be surrounded by. I’ve come to love watching people put together things they created and love. It doesn’t matter if it’s a topic I’d normally be interested in, or an art form I know anything about it. Just watching that act of creation is inspiring, and I always feel grateful to be included in it.

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That’s all the stories I had to share this week. I don’t really see a narrative in it. Do you? Maybe a theme, and probably the same theme that I’m always talking about. Creation is a gift, spending time creating is worthwhile, and sharing the things you create brings joy. I’m a broken record, but I’m ok with that because I think I’m playing a pretty good song.

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