Wednesday, June 7, 2017

IWSG: Wednesday, June 7, 2017 ~ I Quit! Not!

It's the first Wednesday 
of the month ~ 
the day when members of the
Insecure Writer's Support Group
share their writing struggles
and offer their encouragement
and support to other members.

To visit the IWSG website, click here.

To become a member of the IWSG, click here.

Our wonderful co-hosts who are stepping up to help IWSG founder Alex J. Cavanaugh are:
J.H. Moncrieff,  Madeline Mora-Summonte,  Jen Chandler,  Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner.

I hope you have a chance to visit them and thank them for co-hosting.
I'm sure they would appreciate an encouraging comment!

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Every month the IWSG announces a question
that members can answer with advice, insight,
a personal experience, or story in their IWSG posts.

Or, the question can inspire members
if they are struggling with something to say.

Remember, the question is optional!!!
This month's IWSG featured question is:

Did you ever say “I quit”? 
If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

When it comes to writing, I have never said, "I quit."
Never, ever.

On occasion I have had to defer working on certain pieces,
but I have never quit one forever.

During the years that I was working, I had to put aside my goal
of writing my memoir about my family's time
in the North among the Ojibway people.
My career was all consuming, and I couldn't find
the time and energy to devote to such an undertaking.

But I am writing it now, slowly, but surely.

Memoir Writing:  A Learning Process
One of Many Temporary Writing Spots
Bullhead City, Arizona, USA
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

When I said that my career was all consuming, it was no understatement.
It was slowly killing me, much as I loved teaching elementary children.
I retired early, thanks to the urging of my husband, my sister-in-law, and my siblings.

Heading in for My Last Day of Work
June 6, 2012
Aurora, Colorado, USA
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

When I woke up five years ago today on my first day of retirement,
I was mentally and physically exhausted.
I had often thought about waking up on that day,
but it wasn't like I had imagined:  Whoo hoo!  Freedom!
No, I was shot.
I went back to sleep and slept the better part of Day 1 and Day 2.

Tackling that deferred memoir was not #1 on the list.
The thought of it was terrifying.

I started with walking, with regaining my health.
I decided to walk to St. Anthony, Newfoundland
from Aurora, Colorado, metaphorically speaking,
by recording all my actual walks, day by day.

The Finish Line I'm Headed For 
Me, St. Anthony, Newfoundland, Canada, July 2011
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved

As of last night, June 6, 2017,
I have walked 3,274.7 miles or 5,270 kilometers.

I'm about 1.7 miles shy of River of Ponds, Newfoundland,
with 140 miles to go to reach the finish line.

I'm closing in on St. Anthony!!!!!

Closing in on St. Anthony!!!!!
Blue Route, The Great Northern Peninsula, Newfoundland, Canada
Bullhead City, Arizona, December 15, 2016
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved
Google Map

If I can walk to St. Anthony, I can do anything!!!!!

I was retired for over five months before I confronted
the goal of writing my memoir.  I began on November 27, 2012.
It has been a slog through the muskeg, and I've got a ways to go.
But I'll get there!

IWSG Reads:
This year I set a goal of reading at least five books
by fellow Insecure Writer's Support Group members.

This month I've read two more.


The first was the latest IWSG Anthology,
Hero Lost:  Mysteries of Death and Life.

It has been great fun reading the stories
of authors I have come to know
through the IWSG.

I enjoyed each of the twelve stories in the anthology,
but I particularly connected with The Wheat Witch by Erika Bebee.
It has such a sense of place, and I have often found
my way into reading and writing through landscapes.

Kansas has a subtle beauty in all seasons,
and it was among the winter, stubbled, wheat fields of Kansas 
that I began to come back to life after a devastating divorce.
I fell under the spell of the wheat witch as quickly as Ethan,
and remained in it after Ethan's return to life.

It's Rhyme Time

The second was Pat Hatt's latest novel,
The Connective.

This is the third Pat Hat novel 
that I've read,
and what I have learned for sure
is that his books are going to be a wild ride.
You have to let go of all expectations and hang on!

This is the story of Travis and Sally and their widowed mother
who move to a small community in rural Nova Scotia
to rebuild their lives after their tragic loss.

On the first evening a neighbor boy Billy taps on Travis's bedroom window 
and whispers a sinister warning to Sally and him: 
"Get out now ... Go before The Connective makes you a part of them." 
Sally and Travis dismiss Billy's warning as a little weird,
but they are about to find out that their new town
is weirder than they could possibly imagine. 

Overnight Sally and her mother are merged into The Connective,
and Travis discovers they are radically changed in the morning.

It is up to him, along with Billy and a few others who have not been merged,
to find a way to destroy the ancient power behind The Connective.
They all want to rescue their families and friends
and escape with their lives, which is easier said than done!

No Confusing the Two Sides in The Connective
Good Versus Evil ~ Jordan Fall: Deviant Art

The farther I got into The Connective the faster I read,
until I was racing through the final 50 or 60 pages.

Wild is an understatement,
but Pat captured how kids think
and how they tackle scary mysteries
with imagination, derring-do, and half-baked plans.

In their conversations, I heard echoes of words and idioms
from my own childhood in rural Nova Scotia,
and I was reminded of the wild escapades my brother and I got into.

If you, as a reader, have difficulty suspending disbelief
or have an inner Grammar Nazi, then this book may not be for you.

If Samuel Tayler Coleridge could suspend disbelief
in a fantastic tale for sheer enjoyment,
then it works for me ~ I like letting go for the ride.

And, after decades of teaching young kids
and communicating with my family's NexGen,
it's a relief to retire my inner Grammar Nazi.
English is in flux, and I'm in flux with it.

Pat is the most prolific writer I know,
and half the fun is seeing what on earth he is going to do next.
He knows no boundaries and enjoys tackling all sorts of genres
just for the fun and challenge of it.  

Pat has a work ethic as a writer and blogger that doesn't quit,
and he has published dozens of books of all lengths, rhymed and unrhymed.
He doesn't agonize over the perfect sentence or the perfect subplot;
he's done and on to the next adventure.
I find it fascinating to watch Pat grow as a writer from book to book.

Guaranteed I'll be reading the next book in this series.  
I can't resist the fun!

Happy writing in June!

Along Piney Creek
Where I Have Racked Up Hundreds of Miles
Walking to St. Anthony
Aurora, Colorado, USA
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved


  1. Keep on walking and definitely writing. Grammar, I think I spot a spelling or grammar error in my sleep, and recently our morning TV, which has a banner running along the bottom with white words on pale orange ( yes I told them this was too hard to read ) had an error, Their instead of there!!! I sent an email, and had a lovely reply, " you are totally right and we are totally mortified" It was corrected in 5 minutes. About 10 days later, there was another error. This time, I didn't hold back, but asked " Does anyone do a spelling and grammar check before your words are published?" And a few more choice words. They didn't reply , but as a national TV channel, I feel spelling and grammar are so important. And if you ever find an error in my comments, please let me know. I can so easily type "form" when I should have typed "from", and naturally spellcheck doesn't mark it as an error. Do you have that ability to write wherever you are? Absolute silence? noise inside or out? People all around you? I like solitude!!! Hope all is Ok with you, and are you home for a while? Cold mornings here, almost a light frost every day.

    1. Hi, Jean! Thank you for your thoughtful answer! I, too, have spotted mistakes on banners scrolling across my tv screen, and sometimes it makes me scream and sometimes it makes me laugh. I agree that spelling and grammar are critical on a national tv channel. I can find the one misspelling in a book published by a mainstream publisher or a literary journal.

      If I find an error in your posts, I will let you know. Things get away from me all the time, especially in comments ~ It's that darn autocorrect and what I call "the anticipator." The mechanics of writing are the bane of my existence. My brain is scrambled between Canadian and American spelling and punctuation, from decades of working on their, there, and they're with third graders, with trying to interpret what I call "LisaSpeak" which comes from a funny message my niece once sent me, from the differences among academic, business, and "texting" writing.

      To top it all off, I discovered as I began working with my father's letters and papers, that he really struggled with the mechanics of writing, especially spelling. He was widely read, well educated, and raised in a family that drilled him on language from when he was a small boy. His parents and their siblings did not understand his difficulties and could be harsh and critical about his writing. This is a learning disability that has cropped up in generations of my family, always in smart and creative individuals who find inventive cope to cope with their challenges. I was shaken to discover that my father had feet of clay when it came to language. I thought he was a god! He was ruthless with us growing up with regard to written language and the meaning of words ~ Throwing lightning bolts at us would not be much of an exaggeration! LOL

      I hope that I didn't insult you with "Grammar Nazi." It's a term that's thrown around on-line, mostly in fun. There has been a revolution in publishing with the advent of self publishing by people who don't have the resources that a traditional publishing company has when publishing a book. There is good and bad in that. The bad is that mistakes slip by and writing isn't enhanced by the experience of a skilled editor. The good is that so many more people are writing and publishing who otherwise might never have that opportunity. Technology is empowering "regular" people around the world, including those who self publish. I think that it is one of the most momentous things happening in our world, maybe as revolutionary as the Gutenberg press.

    2. Grammar Nazi, not at all, I could be called " The NZ TV Grammar Policewoman" so easily. And yes, a spelling error literally leaps out of the page to me. But recently, I have to check my spelling more often, years ago it was always correct, and with auto-spell, and predictive text, even on my smart phone, sometimes the wrong word is there, not my choice . A very cold morning here, fire is lit, coffee made, 6.19 a.m.

    3. Haha! I love your self description as the NZ TV Grammar Policeman! While you were writing this, I was trying to get a feel for geology in the Wanganui-Pohangina area! This is why my dishes aren't done and the bed is unmade. LOL Terry knows I'm hopeless on the first Wednesday of every month which is IWSG Day! I'm guessing you're talking about what will be my tomorrow morning. I'm still drinking my morning coffee, even though it's just after noon here. Terry keeps helpfully refilling and/or warming my coffee, as I obsess here. All our windows and doors are open ~ It is quite warm here, and I can hear the meadowlarks singing in the rough areas along the golf course. Have a good one!

  2. p.s. Sorry, this was an essay!!!

    1. Sorry, I wrote a longer essay!!! And yes, I can write pretty much anywhere. After a lifetime among noisy siblings, noisy drilling rigs, and noisy elementary students, I like a little noise around me. If it's too quiet, I can hear my inner insecurities! Sending you love and hugs!

  3. Congratulations on facing your situation and making huge changes in your life. These decisions will open doors and enrich your life and those close to you. I cheer you on as you continue attaining your goals.

    1. Thank you for your encouraging comment, Lynn! I'm looking forward to reading your post today!

  4. I think I would've slept for a week or more. But getting out and walking was the best thing you could've done.
    Glad you enjoyed Hero Lost.

    1. Walking was, Alex. I remember hiking to the top of Diamond Head when I had less than 50 miles under my belt. I estimated that I had about 3400 more miles to go. It seemed overwhelming, impossible to reach. A year later I was in the hospital for the eighth time, logging a few hundred feet trudging up and down a corridor dragging my IV apparatus with me ~ but I doggedly recorded those tiny walks. I just kept going, and in spite of my doubts, here I am! "Next step, next step," has always been my mantra. Today it's "next comment, next comment." LOL Have a good one my friend!

  5. I think you did a great service to yourself to leave when you did. walking and the outdoors helps me too and I can relate to your rest and recovery. Thank you for the great review of Hero Lost. I love your reviews and how you mention the ways you relate to the stories you read. :)

    1. Hi, Erika! I loved your story, "The Wheat Witch!" I won't forget it! After many years of discussing reading and writing with young children and making text-to-self, text-to-world, and text-to-text connections, I can't help myself. Plus I am a raving INFJ personality, so I filter most things through my emotions and experiences. But that's my cross to bear ~ LOL Have a great IWSG Day, and keep on weaving magical words!

  6. Louise, you are blessed to retire early, and I think you have accomplished a lot. I am so glad that you are writing, and your posts, stories and photos are fascinating and I enjoy them so much! Thank you so much for sharing, dear friend. Much love and warm hugs.

    1. Every time I see your blogging icon pop up, Linda, I feel love and inspiration wash over me! You have been such an encouraging person in my life, and I truly appreciate it! Sending much love and warm hugs back to you!

  7. It'll be a grand day when you "reach" St Anthony's! You're soooooooooo close now!

    1. It will, Debra!!!!! I've promised myself a trip back to St. Anthony to walk the last five miles for real. It can't be this summer, but probably next. By then I'll probably have walked back to St. Barbe, Nfld, strapped on my Jesus Boots and walked across the Straight of Bell Isle, and struck out for Labrador City via Red Bay. Crossing will seen like a cakewalk after "walking" from Bar Harbor to Yarmouth and North Sydney to Port Aux Basques. I'm heading for Greenland and Iceland next. LOL (With real trips to Greenland and Iceland as carrots! I have to walk faster, because I'm getting older!) Have a great day!

  8. Sure sounds like you made the best choice to retire away at your bay. Almost there with walking too. That sure is a feat. Does walking on and off planes count too? You must rack up a ton there lol

    Thanks for the great review too. Yeah, have to suspend disbelief a tad lol but then if everything was realistic it would be quite boring. Idioms sure pop in too, even though the cat makes fun of them. Good to know writing is improving as I learn away and go every which way.

    1. Hey Pat, where you're at! Terry's going to use that quip about walking on and off planes as a weapon! He wants me to rack up fewer miles that way ~ LOL He's immersed in a pickleball world and is gravitating toward staying more in place. I slightly revised the review which I wrote late last night ~ took out the teacher reference which rang wrong in the clear light of morning. Have a great day, my rhyming friend!

  9. LOVE THE PICS! Looks like you're enjoying life in the slow lane:)

    1. I'm definitely enjoying life in the slow lane, Jennifer! I'm glad that you enjoy the pics! I'm so visual that I can never complete a post without images! Have a great day!

  10. Replies
    1. I can say it with conviction now, having walked the talk! Have a great IWSG Day!

  11. I had that experience once: something that was sucking my soul out of me, slowly. I'd like to say I got away from it, but instead, I found a new way around it, and things got bearable. I'm glad you're back to your memoir and hope it's a joy to write!

    1. Finding a new way around something that is sucking the life out of you is awesome, Crystal! That's a smarter way! It is a joy to write, even when I'm tearing my hair out ~ LOL Sometimes my husband asks, "Are you sure you're having fun??? Is this what you really want to do???" Yup ~ I love my own brand of crazy! I hope all is well with you, and I'll be by shortly!

  12. I like the idea of actually walking to Newfoundland (with a ferry or two as a reverse portage).

    1. You are such an adventurer, Sage! I've actually spent a lot of time in various parts of Newfoundland, and even a little in Labrador, but that was before I got the idea to challenge myself with metaphorically walking to Newfoundland. NL is a fabulous place if you don't mind cool, wet, and buggy ~ but then you've canoed the Albany River, so those things shouldn't challenge you! Have a good one, my friend!

  13. Fantastic post! Inspiration at its very best. I enjoyed every word ;-) I love to walk and should follow your lead, but at this point Ireland seems a bit too far away.
    You've convinced me to read the books of Pat Hatt! I already had an idea he'd be good but now I'm sure!

    1. Thanks, Diedre! Pat Hat is an original, and I hope you enjoy his books as much as I have!

  14. Thanks for sharing your journey and pictures! So happy you've found your groove. I, too, took early retirement to get away from something that was sucking every ounce of life, energy, & joy out of my world. Never once have I regretted it! Love your idea of walking to your destination. Awesome motivation - I'm going to give it a shot.

    1. Hi, Sandra! The thought of walking across the continent and the ocean connectors to other parts seemed a fantasy when I started off, but I just put one foot in front of another, and I'm nearly there! I'm shaking my head in delighted almost disbelief! I wish you success in giving it a shot!

  15. That was quite a walk you set for yourself. My head hurts from just reading the numbers, much less walking them. Kudos for you. I'll be cheering - but on the sidelines. I'm busy writing anyway. :)

    1. Hi, Olga! I'm glad you're busy writing. I enjoyed your story of the finder Altenay and Captain Bulat. I suspect she'll find Shamer's blackmailer too. I googled "tubeteika" which I was unfamiliar with, and I was delighted to see how varied and beautiful tubeteikas are. I know so little about Central Asia, especially Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, and Uzbekistan. It was fun to learn more about this part of the world. Thank you for sharing it! Have a good one!

  16. Wow! What a walk! I love walking. It lets you really connect with the landscape and with yourself. Here's to achieving your goal!! I'm so glad you've found your groove with your memoir. Thank you for sharing your story. It's good to know we all hit road blocks from time to time but if we do what's best for our selves and our health, we always come back to our passions. Take care and have a wonderful summer! Cheers!

    1. Thanks for your uplifting and encouraging comment, Jen! Connecting with landscape and myself are two really important reasons for why I walk. I've been up and down Piney Creek many, many times, and I always see something changed or new. I enjoy seeing it as much as brand new places. Enjoy your summer break!

  17. It seems that we only recognize how exhausted we are when we stop and have time to assess. I'm with you on the walking. I can't imagine not being out on a trail or along a beach. Those hours are precious to me and I always return with something new in my head to write down. Here's to a summer filled with a lot of footsteps that take you the distance, especially on that inward journey.

    1. Thanks, C. Lee! There is nothing like being out in nature to clear your head! It always lifts my spirits! Happy writing and walking!

  18. Hi Fundy Blue!
    One foot in front of the other. Per usual, I love the photos detailing your life of adventures. My runs clear my head and insert new ideas. Fresh air is magic. Great post!

    1. Thanks, Adrienne! One foot in front of the other carries one to a lot of places! Have a good one!

  19. Such great photos! And an excellent metaphor for writing and for life - one foot in front of the other, moving forward, step by step. :)

    1. Thanks, Madeline! I'm always happy when someone tells me that they enjoy my photos. Have a great day!

  20. Well done on all the walking. Being outdoors on a hike or being in nature to contemplate is so refreshing for the mind - and good exercise. :-)

    Teaching is a tough job, especially in elementary school. I was a six-grade teacher before I left Belgium; talk about a busy profession. Yet, I have never felt as exhausted as after eight years of full-time sailing and living on a boat. I needed weeks to rest and catch up on sleep and feel ready for (a different) life again!

    You do seem to be able to write anywhere. I get distracted easily, and cannot be far enough away from my husband to focus on my writing. It doesn't help that he has to make (loud) phone calls for work. It is so nice that you are supporting your fellow IWSG writers by buying their books! I"d like to start with the anthology soon as well...

    1. Hi, Liesbet! I can't imagine living on a sailboat for eight years! There are sailors in my extended family, but no one has done the type of sailing that you have. What an adventure!

      Yes, I can pretty much write anywhere. The challenge is to find the time, energy, and internet access when I'm traveling. Sometimes in the evening after sightseeing, I'm very tired and simply have to sleep. I always have a folder with a writing project with me when I am traveling, and I'm rarely without my point and shoot camera.

      Having my husband nearby when I'm writing is not a big deal. He rarely looks at what I'm doing, but he will feed and water me if I'm on a writing binge (and seriously asks if this is what I really want to do). But if I need an editor's eye, he is brilliantly helpful.

      I'm enjoying reading fellow members' books. I have a little book budget, and I like to buy real books. Having taught writing to seven, eight, and nine year olds for decades, I know how much writers want their "published" pieces to be read and appreciated. It's a little support I can return to the IWSG.

      Happy writing! Have a great day!

  21. Congrats on walking, retirement and taking care of you. Congrats on getting back to writing too
    Juneta @ Writer's Gambit

    1. Thanks, Juneta! My body finally broke through to my brain and convinced me I had to start paying attention to it, so I reluctantly, and with many tears over weeks and weeks, decided to retire. Funny thing is I never looked back! Deciding to retire is huge; I never thought it would be so difficult. But retirement is better now than in the past. We're healthier, more engaged, and better able to follow our dreams than the generations before us. Have a lovely day!

  22. Wow. I understand your sleeping so long on your 1st & 2nd days of retirement. Definitely burn out. I'm glad you've found a way to take care of your health. Your goal of walking and what you've accomplished is phenomenal. Best wishes on your memoir.

    1. Thanks, Diane! It's hard for me to believe that I'm almost at the finish line. I remember how excited I was when I "made it" to the Colorado/Kansas state line; but oh, it seemed such a long way to Newfoundland, Have a great day tomorrow!

  23. That's a very cool thing you're doing with your health! I kind of wish I were doing some walking regularly myself. I'll probably have to one of these days.

    1. Thanks, Cathy! I hope that you can squeeze some time in to do a little walking. I wish I could go back in time and take better care of myself ~ I always pushed myself to the limits and beyond when I was teaching. I take each day as it comes, and I walk as I can. Sometimes I've had long walks of five plus miles, and sometimes it's been five or ten minutes of walking around the loop through my kitchen and great room. But it's worth it. Have a lovely weekend!

  24. Thanks for featuring Hero Lost on your blog. I'd have to agree with you - Erika's story was brilliant. I loved her descriptions of the farmland and towns.

  25. Good for you! I am so happy and proud of you! We can certainly do anything, but we have to do it with all our soul! Take Care of yourself!! Thanks for the reviews! Big Hugs!

  26. This is one of the most inspiring IWSG posts I've ever read, which is saying A LOT. Recovery time after a draining job is so important, and I loved that you tackled the things that were important to you one by one.

    Thanks so much for sharing your story!


Thank you for your comments! I appreciate them very much.