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Displacement Activity during NaNo month

FEATURED WRITERS CORNER

November is NaNo writing month

I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by
– Douglas Adams

My last two blogs have featured talented — and busy — authors: the GuestBlog is such a boon when you’re feeling not quite writerly yourself.

Er, well, it’s not that I haven’t been writerly, I have. Just otherwise focused.

NaNo started on November 1st and won’t stop until November 30th and we’re not quite half way through the introductions yet. NaNo is when you abandon all hope of having a life, get up each day knowing you have an obligation to fulfill, fall into bed far too late into the wee hours because you know you won’t get a good night’s sleep otherwise, and generally find it difficult to communicate with your family — unless they’re on Facebook for a couple of minutes. Did I say eat? Whatever’s within reach. So long as it’s quick.

By now all leaf color is a leaf carpet

But November is also the month of Scorpio. That black and white personality, do or die, and if you die, don’t expect anyone to come and pick up the pieces — kind of month. Winter approaches. You can feel it in every breath. Watery autumnal sunlight, and where I live up here on the 57th parallel (cf Juneau, AK), light is gone from the day by 4p.m. Leaves are no longer pretending to cling to tree branches because most of the colorful ones are now carpeting the driveway. That kind of month. A time when one should be out there making the nest ready for hibernation through the next three months of dire weather and even direr temperatures.

And yet that’s the month a small group of writer-stroke-genius displacement activists chose to nurture the NaNo Bug.

Those of our critics who aren’t writers themselves say writing is ‘displacement activity’ from Life with a capital L. As a child, were we encouraged to write or were we encouraged to get an education which would slot us into a ‘good job’?

No displacement activity

Nevertheless I am writing. It’s what a writer is supposed to do.

NaNo was founded in 1999 by a looseknit group (I like the picture that conjures up, kind of like a quilting bee) of writerly types in San Francisco, CA. They chose to set aside the month of November — all 30 days of it — to create the bones of a novel. The ‘bones’ amounts to 50,000 words. Or writing a minimum of 1667 words every day. In order to nourish, challenge and encourage each other, certain perks, ‘gifts’, achievement stickers and carrots are used.

While the pain and self-immolation this exercise invokes might seem to be some people’s idea of lunacy, the Nano idea grew.

Gradually a body of supporters, themselves plunging into writerly waters for the marathon type-in, brought Nano fame. And purpose to November for writers. The month made the real world go away. Instead of the world of lethal freeze outside, your world turns inwards, into the novel or what the novel will become. You hand yourself over to an overlighting presence. You become just the fingers on the keyboard. The body on the bed.

NaNo’s acronym grew from the idea that November is now National Novel Writing Month and a website encourages the cotidien and foolhardy habit, suggesting you upload* a daily wordcount, so as to see your own (growing) stats and feel you are accomplishing something. There are free stickers and website widgets to egg you on, should you feel in need of a boost. And at the end of it, when you’ve passed the 50,000 word mark (some achieve 70,000-100,000. Hey, let’s not knock it), they proclaim you a Winner and you get a purple ‘winner’s’ accolade; plus the offer of a proof hardcopy of your book in print from Amazon’s CreateSpace.

But what happens to this human being who has committed her/himself to such a daily chore (sometimes a pleasure, sometimes a chore)? Does the Muse** visit every day and hold her/his hand through the ordeal?

Even if you don’t feel the Muse holding your hand every day, there are a couple of NaNo folks who do. They’ve taken on the volunteer job of keeping you at it. Been there, done that. They too, most of them, are sitting at their laptops in Peoria Illinois and Ashland Oregon and Walnut Creek California and (Rome, Madrid, London and Skye) pitching in again this November to finish writing their very own ‘new’ idea, plot, adventure, MS, WIP, exercise in writer’s-block-removal.

First, find out what your hero wants, then just follow him
– Ray Bradbury

At the end of the 30 days, if you drag yourself kicking and screaming to the keyboard every day, and create a piece of work, long or short — ignoring edits, spelling errors, lack of thought-flow; just get it out there — there’s one thing you’ll have achieved. A 50,000-word story. It may feel awful, scratchy, patchy, unformed or uninformed, and half the characters may have glaring holes in their back-stories, but it’s the bones of your next novel, your very own WIP — the Work in Progress that will make you feel a teensy bit achieving.

It may take another year before it becomes fit to print, but that’s not the point. During the process, and especially in the middle doldrums — Week Two Blues — it’s the vision of a completed task that draws you on when you tell yourself the last thing you want to do today is sit down and write a chapter about some silly characters that won’t talk to each other.

That’s part of the clever NaNo trick. They must have learned it from Jack Kerouac. He pasted sheets of copier paper top-and-tail together and fed the roll into a typewriter carriage, stocked up with coffee and ‘uppers’ and wrote ‘On the Road‘ in three weeks.

I’m not suggesting the ‘uppers’. Besides, NaNo ‘writing buddies’ are quite good at keeping you going if you flag. Or Facebook. Remember what they say: if your Subconscious has been alerted and informed by your Will that it has to regurgitate something every day in November, believe me, the Subconscious does.

And it sends in the Muse.

You may not like Her. You may not even be able to identify with Her, but at the end of 30 days, you will have Her staring you in the face, handing you a story. And when you really have something finished — I didn’t say polished: that comes after — you really feel you have to do something with it! Because it’s your WIP and it’s all yours.

They say writers are the least likely people to market their own wares. Isaac Asimov said:

Rejection slips, query and form letters, and synopses, however tactfully phrased, are lacerations of the soul, if not quite inventions of the devil, but there is no way around them.

2010 NaNo in progress

Which brings me back to Displacement Activity. What NaNo does for writers is just such a way around the roadblock that Asimov thought inevitable. It physically takes over space and time and allows the writerly urge to come through. Displacement activity is put aside to make way for words. That means life functions, regardless/oblivious of eating, drinking, sleeping, making love, shopping, paying bills or stoking fires — or any other life chore, for that matter — take a back seat, offering space for the writer and Muse to get to know one another all over again. And ideally during the process, all distractions, such as rejection slips, plotlines, query letter seminars, agent/ editor suggestions or even how the story’s going to end (along with cell phones) fall into the file drawer below the supply of tea/coffee, twinkies/cookies, cheese bits, and granola.

The rest of the world can criticize you for making writing your Displacement Activity from Life. But by the time you’re past Week Two, the halfway hurdle, and you find you’ve got a story going, your characters are coming alive, even if you’re not quite on the home stretch, you (hopefully) don’t believe your activity is displacement at all. You’ve found a new friend.

So why am I here writing this blog? Must be Nano Displacement Activity. Sorry, dear readers and fellow writers, I got to get back. My NaNo Muse is calling.

* An exciting widget until year 2010 was the wordcount widget. You copy & paste your daily output as input to the NaNo page and it counted the result for you and pasted the glorious total as part of your personal and site-wide stats. In 2010 this feature will only become available to site visitors after November 25th when the widget will be available to participants to ‘verify’ their (completed) output/MS/novel.
**Some days She does; some days She doesn’t.

Ed. As evidence of Marian’s supreme NaNo Displacement Activity, she wrote the following little Drabble for entry in the December Drabble contest over at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash.

NOLA HOLA

She’d worked hard – her beads sparkled in December sunshine. Farmers market always busy on weekends, the tomato and squash guy in the next stall said, selling his pumpkins for pennies. Mark ’em down low was his recipe for getting home early.

Freezing, only her second time, she gotta stay to cover costs. Don’t come back without a Franklin, or I break your arm, he’d said.

That weirdo, watching from a doorway since lunchtime, came over, handed her a 1000 dollar bill.
‘Cleveland cover it?’ he asked, picking up the jewel case.
Passport outta Dodge, she thought.
‘Sure,’ she said. ‘Thanks.’

©2010 Marian Youngblood
photo ‘Colourful beads’ by Natasha Ramarathnam
A Drabble is a story — a bullet, an idea, a character outline, a work of fiction that is exactly 100 words long: no more, no less.
December Drabble Theme at Burrowers, Books and Balderdash

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November 13, 2010 Posted by | astrology, authors, culture, novel, seasonal, winter, writing | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Our Saturn Return and The New Earth

Earth squeezed in a T-square between planetary giants in retrograde motion

The full moon in Aquarius just brightened last weekend, before plunging us and the planet back into the thick of our current conflict, heavily buttressed by a planetary T-square, the next most-challenging astrological lineup to hit us after June’s Grand Cross. It’s not that the Grand Cross has gone away: it’s just hovering, waiting to return on August 6th/7th. Saturn is dominating the astral path right now, being just about the only major planet in direct motion. And while that might not be seen as a positive aspect, its qualities as harsh taskmaster, cleanser, ruler of passion are being given a position of balance at the doorway (0º) to Libra. Right behind it, also moving direct, come Mars at 27º and Venus at 17º in Virgo. Meticulous attention to detail in love and control over unruly emotions are the best paths to tread. This is not an easy time for society (Saturn 0º Libra), the ‘real world’ of banking establishments, government departments experiencing major change. They are being directly opposed by all things expansive, generous, abundant — Jupiter at 3º Aries — and Uranus, planet of societal change at 0º Aries, encouraging us to stay alert, to think anew. Their drag is being felt most severely as both these giant planets are in retrograde motion. We are abandoning the old draconian systems, throwing out defunct legislation and top-heavy bureaucracy that no longer works. Changing channels.

Late July until August 9th: revolutionary changes in lifestyle, personal relationships, community, globally

Clustering close by, particularly since last weekend’s full moon in Aquarius, now moving through emotional and soothing Pisces, we are being guided by watery Neptune, 27º Aquarius, also retrograde, and in direct opposition to Mercury at 27º in Leo with the Sun, but suggesting a spiritual solution, steering a clear course for us through this unprecedented storm. Across the bows of these two opposing bulkheads of the zodiac stands Pluto, the planet of death and rebirth, at 3º of Capricorn, in control within its fixed, immovable T-square.

Not an easy time for mankind. But help is at hand.

It’s been said when all hell breaks loose, only the most peaceful, most love-centered and most ‘allowing’ natures will move through into the next dimension. For that is where we are: standing at a new portal into humaniity’s future.

Thirty years ago a whole generation was born into a world where Saturn stood at the doorway of Libra. That 1979-1980-1981 group of children are now, as the current golden generation of thirty-somethings, experiencing their first Saturn Return. For the Baby-Boomers, the late-’40s/early-’50s generation born after their parents’ return from war, this moment in 2010 is their second Saturn Return, the second time the giant ringed planet has made its 30-year circuit. It is no wonder the ethos of their teenage years — the glorious Sixties — is coming round again and we’re hearing the kind of special spiritual advice which was common speech in that magical era.

Two voices in particular are being heard above the clamor.

One is that of Dr Carl Johan Calleman, long-time student of the Calendar of the Maya and supporter of mankind’s entering the Ninth (and last) Wave of the calendrical system with focused intent. He suggested the weekend of July 17th-18th as an initiation to this new wave, calling it the Conscious Convergence, to tie in with the Harmonic Convergence of August 1987 which started the consciousness ball rolling again.

“Maybe it (Conscious Convergence) will be humanity’s last chance of setting such an intention, which almost with necessity must exist at an early point if we are to elevate ourselves above the economic chaos that we may expect in the years ahead.”

We the human species are, according to Dr Calleman in his interpretaion of the calendar, due to emerge from the sixth Night of the Mayan Underworld on November 2nd later this year (“Yellow Galactic Seed“) and will enter the Ninth and Last ‘Universal’ Underworld in February 2011. Conscious Convergence thus gives us a headstart for ‘Unity Consciousness’.

Those unfamiliar with Dr Calleman’s work will find multiple links on his page, but for beginners it might be helpful to start here.

There is another voice — a young female voice — who has been making herself increasingly more audible since spring this year. A young thirty-something herself, Kiesha Crowther is the daughter of a white father and a native American mother and is a tribal shaman and youngest-ever wisdomkeeper. Since spring 2010 she has been getting people’s attention by speaking about her people’s ‘New Way’ to wake up and pay attention to ‘who we really are’. Her suggestion to us, the world Tribe of Many Colors, is that the world changes today, in 2010, and she gives eight ways we might try to change our thinking about the physical. These are her pointers to helping us as a planetary family ascend.

Flower of Life: from our heart

Kiesha Crowther says: ‘the Light Beings are returning and they’re bringing their families!’ These are her suggested Steps to Enlightenment a new way of seeing;
Self-Memory – how to remember who you are;
Sustainable Lifestyle; and
Achieving higher consciousness

1. There is a Higher Knowing than ourselves.
There is a Grand Design: we are part of something greater than ourselves that has conscious intent. We can tune into that and become one with the Universe.

2. History is not an evolution of technology and production. It is the evolution of thought and we are moving through the process of thinking around the heart.

3. A new understanding of the physical world:
All things are alive and have energy. This enegy is keeping us alive.

4. Energy: Exchange energy with plants; share/take energy from the Earth. Instead of taking energy from others, get your energy from the Earth. We don’t have to take others’ energy. It is a gift from the planet: breathe in new energy from a tree, the river, the blade of grass, the rose. The Earth has energy for us. Stop giving it away. Go outside and fire yourself up. Fill up with Mother Earth energy.

5. Stop fighting to be heard or be in charge.
We do not need to feed off each other’s opinions of ourselves. If we fill ourselves up with Earth Energy, breathing it in and giving our energy back out to Mother Earth, we don’t need anybody else’s energy — nor do we need to let someone take our energy away.
We need to stop hurting each other, depleting the energy of another. Go outside and fill up with all the energy you need.

6. What do you stand for? Who do you want to be?
Why are you here? Ask yourself that and listen for the answers. You are the creator. Make a decision and watch it unfold.

7. Ways of Knowing:
Dreams are not just dreams. They come from the Higher Self. Thoughts pop out, we have daydreams; something comes into our heads. These are promptings from Spirit. Listen to them. Pay attention to your dreams.

Ask the right questions and listen. Listen to one another, listen to where the answers come from. From coincidences, through dreams, pay attention to what’s happening in your head. When you stop thinking so hard, and pay attention to what’s happening around you, you begin to receive some real information.

8. Do not become addicted to other human beings. This will stop your growth.
If you failed at something you love, why did you fail? Did you give your energy away? Did you let somebody else tell you you’d failed? We don’t have to be addicted to someone else’s opinion of us. We have our own inner path.

Things are not happening by chance. We chose to come here: to be here now. We belong to something enormous. We are part of a greater plan.

Stop thinking so hard and connect heart and mind. Start using mind to think about change from the heart. Our thinking is beginnning to realize there is more. We are realizing we are creators. Use our brains to connect with our inner knowing.

Energy
Seeing energy, sensing beauty. Filling ourselves up with energy from the planet, not from each other. Learn to take energy from plants, the mountains, trees, experience joy in the earth instead of stealing it from another.

‘We have been using energy the wrong way. That is a huge failure on our part. Now is the time to change. All the energy we need exists already on the planet. Go outside and breathe it in from an acorn, an apple, a plant, from the animals, streams, mountains. We are being asked to stop taking from others and to stop giving our energy away.’

‘All your life’s energy exists outside. If you feel weak. If someone says negative things about you, don’t let that make you feel bad. How silly! Sit outside and fill up with energy. Why does it feel so good? Because you’re plugging yourself in. Mother Earth is Everything.’

Little Grandmother Kiesha Crowther firmly believes that there is no hierarchy in this New Way of living in the New Earth. We each have the power to gather our own strength from the Earth Mother and grow at our own pace. There are no leaders, no followers. We are all equal, she says.

There is right now a physical group of around 32,000 people living this way, actually working on growing this consciousness larger. She warns: ‘If you can’t commit to it, don’t commit to it, but if you can, please stick with it.’

‘Stop telling yourself you can’t, because you can.’

Change the Channel
In order to change the balance from fear to love, she gives the advice of the ‘Grandfathers’, the Elders who say: ‘Change the Channel.’

‘If you are sitting next to someone who speaks ill of someone else or is not speaking from the heart, don’t be afraid to change the channel: shedding off what we are used to agreeing to on a daily basis and stopping it. If you hear negativity, stop listening to it. You cannot give your energy to something that is not good and expect it to change. If you give your energy to it, it will thrive. If you don’t want to have negativity in your life, change the channel.’

‘When you read something negative in the newspaper, your energy level plummets. If every one of us agrees to this contract, we will not listen to negativity.

We are the Ones we have been waiting for
‘The Grandfathers were not making it up when they said you are the very ones you have been waiting for. There is no savior who will come and change this planet. So I ask you as my brothers and sisters, people of my heart, people of the Tribe of Many Colors, will you join the cause? Will you stop listening to negativity? Will you change the channel? Then we change the world.’

‘We will charge ourselves and be responsible for ourselves and we will change the world.’

How do we change it?
‘We each have responsibility — all the answers are right here, We just forgot how to look at them. Truth is always easy. It’s the manade rules that are so hard to follow.

Through love
‘Through love this whole world is changing. Through love the light beings are returning and through love they’re going to show us the way. And through love all of those things we didn’t know before are going to become manifest to us. And through love all of our dreams are going to come true. And through love this planet earth is going to be magnificent and we’re going to be reborn. She will be reborn through love. And through love everything is possible.’

Kiesha Crowther would like us to share her message. We chose to come here NOW. We are all Creators. We are part of something enormous and it’s happening now. It is time for us to share the wisdom of the Grandfathers and Grandmothers with all people of the Tribe of Many Colors on the planet, Mother Earth.

So while Dr Calleman and Kiesha Crowther both envisage a movement of people changing for good, the Calleman ‘convergence’ focuses on the movement, while Kiesha’s advice is directed at the individual.

Both believe we can change the world.

Kiesha Crowther has a website at http://www.littlegrandmother.net and Live at Santa Fe, an Evening with the Youngest Wisdomkeeper and both she and Carl Johan Calleman have recorded and live video talks available on YouTube.

July 28, 2010 Posted by | Ascension, astrology, authors, belief, consciousness, culture, energy, nature, New Age, New Earth, spiritual | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment