Tag Archives: blogging

An update about the Camino

Our trip to Spain is getting closer! Follow the link below to my writing blog for more details…

There is nothing quite like receiving that email confirming your flight is booked. In this case, the series of emails (Calgary to Paris via Montreal, Paris to Madrid and then various bits and pieces of the return trip plus information about trains within Spain) have triggered a crazy mix of wild excitement and sheer terror. […]

via Camino tickets BOOKED!!!!!! — Nikki Tate – Author

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Meanwhile, Over in Paris

About a month ago I landed in Paris, where I’ve been hanging out and writing ever since.

 

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True confession: I spend way more time than I’d like to admit in more or less this position, watching the goings on down in the plaza below our apartment. Endlessly fascinating. And besides, isn’t that what you are supposed to do when in Paris? People-watch? It’s a national pastime here. 

 

On my author blog I’ve been posting a bit about being here…

P is for Pleading Paris

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Q is for Query Letters (in Paris)

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R is for Reading in Paris

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S is for Shut Up and Write (in Paris)

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T is for Taking Time to Write (in Paris)

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I’m off to do my daily ‘pop my head out of a new subway station and see what’s there’ mission. After I get back later tonight, I’ll post something on this poor, neglected blog about what I discover on my journey…

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Enjoy the blog? Consider becoming a patron to support the creation of these blog posts, photo essays, and short videos. In return, you’ll have my undying appreciation, but you’ll also get access to Patron-only content, advance peeks at works in progress, and more – all for as little as a buck a month! It’s easy – head on over to Patreon to have a look at how it all works.

Meanwhile, over on my author blog…

Busy times! After shuttling back and forth between the coast and the mountains for nearly two years, I finally loaded up the car and made it official – I’m an Albertan once again!

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It’s hard to believe that after all that sorting, tossing, donating, and clearing out of stuff, I still wound up bringing more stuff with me than I was expecting. How do we accumulate so many things? Why do we choose to hang onto those things we schlepp from one side of the mountains to the other? I’ll write more about that process in a future post, but for now… I’m here!

 

On the writing front, I’m embarking on this year’s A to Z Blogging Challenge – a post a day for the month of April. This year, I chose writing as my theme, which takes me out of my comfort zone as I really don’t find it that easy to write about writing.

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Read the first post A is for Authorly Angst over at nikkitate.com

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Enjoy the blog? Consider becoming a patron to support the creation of these blog posts, photo essays, and short videos. In return, you’ll have my undying appreciation, but you’ll also get access to Patron-only content, advance peeks at works in progress, and more – all for as little as a buck a month! It’s easy – head on over to Patreon to have a look at how it all works.

 

 

Welcome to Patreon – Video

I recently decided to set up a Patreon account as a way to help smooth out the fiscal bumps and hollows of a life spent writing. Patreon guides you through the steps of setting up an account and as part of that process they encourage creators to make a short intro video… I am, for a change, playing by the rules… And so, I present to you, my intro video for Patreon:

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Enjoy the blog? Consider becoming a patron to support the creation of these blog posts, photo essays, and short videos. In return, you’ll have my undying appreciation, but you’ll also get access to Patron-only content, advance peeks at works in progress, and more – all for as little as a buck a month! It’s easy – head on over to Patreon to have a look at how it all works.

Where the Past and Future Meet

 

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Just because it’s an ugly job doesn’t mean I can’t have some scribbly fun in my journal. The journals, btw, are going into storage. You never know when I might need a reminder about all the strange decisions I’ve made so far…

At the moment, my past and present are colliding in a humongous jumble of boxes stacked high in every available space in my Victoria suite. After 20 years at one address (a record!), I am moving. And, downsizing. Drastically. With any luck, I’ll be spending lots of time over the next number of years living in tiny spaces – a sailboat. A tent. During my more luxurious moments, in a condo in the mountains.

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Every room looks like this at the moment. Books and boxes everywhere. Total chaos.

With all that in mind and more determined than ever to be mobile and unfettered (as unfettered as someone who is recently engaged can be…), I have been going through ALL my stuff. Yep, even the boxes full of ancient files containing useful things like phone bills from 1984, the dot matrix drafts of papers from university, every draft of every book or article I’ve ever written, random receipts, shopping lists, birthday cards from people I don’t even know… Why, oh why did I feel I needed to keep my copy of meeting minutes from every meeting I’ve attended over the past 30+ years? Phone memos torn from those pink message pads? I can barely remember those jobs, never mind the person or phone number so carefully saved in boxes all these years. The toss (well, recycle) ratio on most of this papery dreck is running at 90% or higher.

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Typical of the number of boxes of files and papers in a given corner… Below, the same corner after the excavation. All that reduced to one, small box.

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Likewise, the books are being drastically reduced in number. I have been culling for several years now, but this last go round is truly impressive. I probably started with 12,000-15,000 books and will perhaps wind up with 500. Which is pretty incredible (though I’m wondering if I could actually get that number down even lower). I’m either donating to schools, giving them to friends, sending them off to thrift shops, or, for the relatively few that may have some modest value, they are heading off to find new owners via a couple of used book shops. Said shops provide store credit only, so for the little I get from my 50+ years of rabid collecting (hoarding!) of books, I’ll be able to get a few choice Christmas presents or select titles I decide I absolutely need to add to what will be a rather modest collection. It’s thoroughly depressing to think how very little used books are actually worth in our world.

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So many manuscript drafts. I kept editorial notes (like these from an early draft of Tarragon Island) and a few sample pages here and there, took some snapshots of random pages and then… tossed the rest away.

Has it been hard to let all that stuff go? At first, it was excruciating. Every book that went into a ‘donate’ box tugged at my heart strings. I may not have read every book on my shelves, but I know where they all came from and why they are there. My bookshelves were a sort of visual archive of my entire life and every time I let one go it was like letting a little piece of my past disappear.

And then, it got easier. I’m not sure what happened, but there was a massive shift in the way I was looking at what suddenly seemed to be an excessive number of books for any one human to possess. Armloads started going into the boxes destined for various schools… most of my equestrian-themed books went off to the Victoria Therapeutic Riding Association. Others, I realized, would find plenty of pleasure in the books I have had around me for so long.

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Photos like this one of me feeding a monkey in Singapore, 1967 are keepers. The French homework notebook into which this photo had been tacked has been tossed. This is why it’s taking me so long to go through everything. There are gems hidden away, tucked between the pages of books, folded up and wedged between old phone bills, scribbled on napkins and, yes, recorded on ancient cassette tapes. The audio-visual finds will have to wait to be shared until I can convert them into something the digital world can understand.

The task is, as you can imagine, huge. Though it has become easier to decide what can go and what must be stored away until I’m once again in a place where I can lovingly place my favourite bliblio-babies back on bookshelves, the sheer volume of material I need to work my way through is staggering.

But so worth it.

 

 

The Getting Serious About Yoga Chapter

So I’ve been doing yoga for years, on and off. I’ve always been a bit streaky – practicing  regularly for a while and then neglecting yoga for weeks, months, or (during a particularly busy period during the farm era) years.

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Yoga is almost like music in a way; there’s no end to it.   -Sting
**Nope – that’s not me in the photo…

It turns out that climbing and yoga and rehabbing from injuries (oh yeah, I guess I should do a broken body parts update one of these days) are all good companions (along with weight training, apparently – more on that in the injury update post). Anyway, for various reasons, I’ve been doing a lot of yoga over the past months and when the chance came up to do a Yoga Teacher Training Course, I jumped on it. I figured taking the course would inspire me to deepen my own practice and being able to teach is a wonderful way to share all the many benefits of yoga with others. It also occurred to me I could even teach some gentle classes while travelling, say, on a sailboat while I circumnavigate. Obviously, I would wait until I was ashore on a beach or at a resort somewhere before unrolling the yoga mat and inviting people over, but based on how much fun Peta and I had doing a bit of yoga while sailing in the Caribbean last year, it seems like the two activities would go very well together.

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While we were in Hawaii this year, Andee and I attended a rather funky yoga class on the beach at Waikiki. Our instructor was an exceptionally happy dude!

As for the climbing connection, climbing requires strength, balance, and coordination (and a steady mind) to be able to do it reasonably well. Yoga is the perfect activity to complement my vertical addiction! Practically speaking, winter is upon us here in the Rocky Mountains, so it’s ice climbing, gym climbing, or nothing. I’m not nearly as enthused about ice as Fabio, so I’m actually pretty happy to split my time between the yoga mat and the climbing gym as the days get shorter and colder. As I continue down the teaching road, I’m developing some classes specifically aimed at climbers – lots of shoulder, back, and core strength – arm balances and inversions – all the stuff I love to play around with and which, even as they make me sweat, infuse me with the kind of strong, positive energy that helps with whatever else I might happen to be doing in my day.

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A particularly soothing yoga and meditation session with the inimitable Ally Pony.

I’m writing this post partly so you don’t get too big a shock when, suddenly, yoga references start popping up in the blog. Sometimes I think I should try to maintain six blogs – a climbing blog, a yoga blog, a sailing blog, a writing blog, a bread-making blog, a travel blog… But I am only one person and life is short, so if you think yoga is just for … um, yogis… keep scrolling down until you find something more interesting…

**I realized, as I was putting this blog post together, that I don’t have many/any photos of me doing yoga… I guess I should maybe experiment with that…

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Enjoy the blog? Consider becoming a patron to support the creation of these blog posts, photo essays, and short videos. In return, you’ll have my undying appreciation, but you’ll also get access to Patron-only content, advance peeks at works in progress, and more – all for as little as a buck a month! It’s easy – head on over to Patreon to have a look at how it all works.

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NaBloPoMo Here We Come! More, or less…

NaBloPoMo December 2013

Over on the Blogher website, there is a whole lot of blogging going on! When I started this whole blogging biznatch waaaaaaaaay back in 2000 (!) there was no such thing as a blogging community. The blogging tools were crude and I had no idea what I was doing. I mustered up one whole blog post that first year. In 2001, I picked up the keyboard again on September 12, the day after 9-11. Given how that event changed the world, I wrote surprisingly little about it online. (Curious about those early blogging days? Here’s the link. Be warned, it’s pretty  boring.)

I didn’t post a photo until 2002. Here it is:

Me in my Pony Express hat, posing inside a whale rib cage…

That was the year I rode sections of the Pony Express Trail across Nevada to promote a children’s book I had written, Jo’s Triumph (note, there was no such thing as a Kindle edition back then, though that is the first link that comes up in a search today…)

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Foolishly, I had created another website where all those photos and notes from the trip were kept. That website doesn’t exist any more, so all that material is lost. Which is probably something to keep in mind while we are all producing so much stuff that exists only out there in the ethers. I never print anything off that I post on my blog and I guess maybe that isn’t such a good idea, if I’m worried about posterity. How do other bloggers deal with this?

In 2012 I moved my writing blog over to WordPress when my website got an overhaul, but I have to say I have been a tad inconsistent when it comes to writing about writing, probably because writing about writing is kind of boring. I always felt a bit odd writing about pigs and snowstorms and what I was harvesting from the garden on a blog that was supposed to be about me and my books. So, in 2009 I started my Dark Creek Farm blog over on Blogger and then in January of 2011 I moved the farm blog here to WordPress.

Since starting to write about farming, I have found blogging got a lot more interesting. Maybe it’s all the procreation and death that goes on here that ups the readability factor. Farm life is much more real and compelling than a stack of manuscript pages. And, I get to post photos of horses:

and piglets:

Piglets!

and, occasionally, sketches by my dad about life on the farm:

I find it’s really helpful to have the motivation of a deadline to push me along, which is one reason to sign up for this month’s blogging challenge. But I have also found (after participating in a 30-Day Farm Blog challenge in November) that this here blogging community that sort of sprouted when I wasn’t paying attention is a whole lot of fun!

My goal for this month is to write more and worry less. When I can I’ll follow the writing prompts and otherwise, I’ll just keep on jotting down my thoughts about life on this here little farm.

The first prompt is: Do you think you’re more or less likely to complete December’s NaBloPoMo? I think there will be days when it’s a snap and then, right around Christmas when everything gets totally crazy with visitors and meals and hockey games and stuff… well, those days could be a tad challenging.

What I have noticed is very different today from those very early days back in the mists of blogging time is how handy my phone is! I hope to make better use of that nifty device, not just for snapping photos (for which it has been SO great!) but also for blogging quickies on the go. The other thing I’d like to try to do is include more videos, but December may prove to be just a bit too frenetic a month to attempt that. More video, though, might just be a good New Year’s resolution. But, I’m getting ahead of myself! For now, I’m excited to be part of this challenge and can’t wait to get to know some of the other bloggers who have also decided to participate.