I Haven’t Been Writing Because I’ve Been Arting.

I Arted!

Sunset by Author

https://www.redbubble.com/shop/ap/62508049?asc=u

I’m having a ball setting up the Redbubble store and designing, um, designs.

I’ve been going through the eleventeen kabillion photos in my Google Photo cloud. Some of these photos are 10 years old!

Higher resolution photos (aka more pixels) make better product design. Most of my older photos are 800×500. Not high. Few pixels.

I’ve discovered I can revamp this tiny, poor resolution photos by creating a .png file. I’m poor so I can’t afford a fancy, expensive photo editing app. Also, the only laptop computer I have access to is a Chromebook.

So, also no fancy photo editing software.

I have discovered Chrome Canvas. It is a tedious but fun way to upgrade old photos.

You should come check out my store. It really is in it’s infancy still, but is about ready to roll over, sun to be followed by sitting up all by itself.

https://www.redbubble.com/people/JonicaBradley/shop?asc=u

I’ve been so busy arting I haven’t found time for writing. Which is cool. I’m a bit stuck on the book, anyway. I’m having trouble fitting the inciting incident into chapter 1. Enter prologue? Maybe? Whatever. My brain needs a break.

I have managed a Medium article or two. You can come check out my work here: https://medium.com@goatsandsheep.galore

Again, I need to figure out how to connect fancy buttons and pages and stuff to take you places I want you to go. But until I can do that, just click on the links. I’m a caveman. Come into my cave.

One thing I’ve learned about all this self promotion at which I’m not great is people prefer to follow people who have a ton of followers.

That is my convoluted way of asking you to PLEASE stop by the store and even if you don’t want to buy anything from me, follow me. Favorite my stuff. Help me get those numbers up.

And of course, feel free to buy a sticker or a magnet or a shocked Kitty dress or some llama leggings! You will be supporting a starving artist and in so doing free up my mind to write a book which you can then buy! Or at least read.

https://www.redbubble.com/i/dress/Sunrise-by-JonicaBradley/62442267.V4WQ8

I hope to see you there!

New Designs

pretty swirly by author

I’m horrible at monetizing my craft. I’ve spent the past 40+ years creating and most of that was as a starving artists.

I’d love to figure out a slick website with affiliate links and ads and buttons to take you to my art for sale.

I admit. I am inept in this area. (Any help/suggestions/advice is always, ALWAYS appreciated)

I’ve recently been turned on to the site redbubble. I’m in the process of uploading designs. Mostly of tie dye I’ve done in the past.

https://www.redbubble.com/people/jonicabradley/shop

They make fun stickers and phone cases, pillows and drink mugs, even miniskirts!

Anyway, I would really appreciate it if you stopped by my store.

Buy a sticker. Or a mask or whatever.

https://www.redbubble.com/people/jonicabradley/shop

Click the link. I’ve only got a couple of designs up and one photo of my cat doing what she does. That one was mostly an experiment.

This whole thing is an experiment!

Give it a look. I’ll be uploading designs today and, well, all week, probably.

https://www.redbubble.com/people/jonicabradley/shop

It’s Not Pretty But It’s Healthy

Photo by Author

This morning’s smoothie was beautiful before it was blended. What you see (and don’t see) in that blender are mixed berries – strawberries, blueberries, black berries, spinach, a carrot, a little milk, green tea, and a couple of left over smoothie ice cubes from surplus smoothies of the past.

I also added stevia for sweetness and Vitamin C for tartness (and because I feel like I’m coming down with a cold).

Any painters or visual artists out there? You already know the answer to, “What do you get when you mix green orange and purple?”

Yep. Brown.

The end result looks more like something you would find at Starbucks than in your local smoothie shop.

It is, however, cock full of vitamins and antioxidants. If you can get past the color and actually take a sip I hope you will be as pleasantly surprised as I was.

Cheers!

Plot Driven Characters or Character Driven Plot?

Photo by Kate Graur from Pexels

As I’ve written about before, my dad was a writer. His writing technique was definitely character driven.

Also as I’ve mentioned before, my dad seemed to get bogged down in his characters. Never going much beyond index cards full of characterizations.

I’ve been taking Masterclass lessons on writing from some of the greats. As my work in progress is a psychological suspense thriller, I started with Dan Brown.

Dan makes the argument, a very convincing argument, to let the plot inform the characters. This makes sense on so many levels. I’m just not sure how it applies to me.

My WIP started with just two characters, a good guy and a bad guy, and a premise. My premise is solid and had received very encouraging feedback. My characters are also solid. I have much of their backgrounds on paper and in mind.

I know the beginning and the ending of the book. It’s the middle that is giving me heartburn. How to connect these characters (there are now a few more) in a thrilling way.

At this point I feel like a seven year old telling a story, “And then . . . and then . . . and then.”

So, which would you use to inform your story? Plot driven characters or character driven plot?

Out of The Hole

Selfie by Author

I’ve been in a deep, dark depression hole since early August. Maybe even a bit before.

August 13th was not only my wedding anniversary, but also 1 year since I had a spot of skin cancer removed from under my eye.

A little over a year ago I started having mystery nausea and barfing episodes. I saw every doctor and was poked and prodded in ways that would make the gray aliens proud.

I finally got a diagnosis, had a polyp removed, and medication adjusted.

I’m fine now. Gaining weight even (which is not necessarily a good thing). My body doesn’t ache on a daily basis. And I sheep early and through the night.

Most of my issues were, in fact, medication related. The docs started messing with my sleep medications by unprescribing and represcribing various antidepressants. I ran out of one medication and started taking another.

I didn’t read the box warning on the Trazadone prescription. If I had, I may have been able to avoid shooting myself in the head (I missed) and a 2 week hospital stay.

I may have been able to avoid the deep hole I’ve found myself in. It feels like I’ve been down here for years. I’ve been down here so long it has become comfortable. Alone. In the dark.

But the light must shine. A few months after the hospital stay I feel confident medication is once again working. Medication shines the light in my hole. Therapy is the hard part of digging myself out of it.

My therapist says she thinks I am less stressed. This is news to me. I’m still down in the hole, you see. It’s just no longer dark. The light is shining. There is nowhere to hide and I can see how bleak and lonely it looks down here.

I’m working on kicking some footholds into the walls of the depression hole. I’ll be climbing out soon!

Daddy

Winston and Jonica photo used with permission

My dad was a writer. As far as I know, he wrote till the day he died.

Only he didn’t write. He had all these cards with character descriptions. He had grand ideas. He didn’t have the words on paper.

He did have one play that was written up in Time magazine and performed at the Greek Theater way back in the day. 1970s. Early 1970s. The play was called Sir! and was loosely based on Steinbeck’s Of Mice and Men. Most of it was basic directions like, “A Colonel sits at a desk, a Private sits before him.” and as I recall, the dialogue was, for the most part improv.

The latest and last script Dad was working on was basically Hamlet, but with a biker gang.

As I sit down to write my 1,500 words for NaNoWriMo at the scheduled time, it occurs to me how much more writing support I have than Dad had.

I know he had his best friend, who lived in the other side of the country, who is also a screenwriter. My Uncle Bill be works in the industry. He gave Dad practically advice. Advice that Dad didn’t always want to hear and would later pout about to me.

I believe Uncle Bill was about it as far as support for writing goes. Dad talked about writing a lot. And talked.

And talked.

He didn’t write much, though.

The thirteenth anniversary of Dad’s death is coming up. My thoughts are obviously with him as I sit down to write.

I want to give a shout out to SUAW, my East Coast writing group and to MY best friend who lives across the country, Evvy.

I actually have a ton of support. If Dad were still alive, I know I could count him in that group.

Off to attempt 1,500 words now.

Is NaNoWriMo Just a Set up For Failure?

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo

That’s what I have thought in years past. And I never signed up.

This year, I changed my thinking. Instead of trying to complete a novel during the month of November, a task I still find daunting, I am using the daily word count to build a consistent routine.

Every weekday morning, from 6 to 8 am I will work on my novel. I’m still in the prepping stages and that is ok. I am more interested in quality than quantity.

21 two-hour sessions should get me a good foundation for a consistent writing habit.

I’ll be using the Pomodoros method. 25 minute blocks of writing with short five minute breaks between.

When I’m not writing, or feeding my critters, I’ll be taking a Masterclass. Dan Brown (The DaVinci Code) is my first instructor. I’ve already learned tons from his lessons.

I think attempting to write 50k to 80k words in a 30 day period is, in fact, a set up for failure. At least for me it is. It puts to much pressure; to much competition.

But developing a consistent writing habit is an excellent way to succeed at NaNoWriMo. It’s all I can ask is myself at this point in time.

Breakfast Smoothie

1 November, 2020

File this one under delicious.

In April of this year, after being poked and prodded, scoped from both ends, and innumerable road trips to doctors far and near, I was officially diagnosed with IBS.

I learned more about Irritable Bowl Syndrome than I ever thought I wanted to know. There are 3 types. IBS A which presents with mostly diarrhea, IBS B which presents mostly with constipation, and IBS C which presents with both.

I have IBS C. I also have Type 2 diabetes and Hashimoto’s disease (hypothyroidism).

The medicos have recommended an anti-inflammatory diet with lots of fiber. Enter the breakfast smoothie.

I have 6 Dinosaur Kale plants in my garden. I have been harvesting since spring. Usually, my breakfast smoothies include cooked kale (cooked because raw kale is really bad for hypothyroidism) but I’ve harvested so much that I need to let it grow a bit more.

I have some sort of fruit and vegetable breakfast smoothie every morning. This ensures I can keep my poop in a group.

I use carrots and beets, and apples and pears, grapes and berries, mangoes and pineapple. I add a tiny bit of Vitamin C in powder form. I use stevia to sweeten everything. And I use a tsp of raw honey from our very own bees to help with my allergies.

I just throw it all in the blender and top it with about 5oz green tea.

I get enough animal fat throughout the day so I don’t add any eggs, although I’ve seen raw eggs in smoothie recipes. Also, I worry about salmonella.

We have our own chickens, so my body is very used to whatever strain of salmonella is naturally occurring in our eggs. I wouldn’t die if I ate a raw egg. But it would definitely trigger an IBS flare up in one direction or another. So. no thanks.

Without further ado, here is today’s smoothie recipe:

1 carrot

10 red grapes

5 strawberries

1 handful of large blackberries

1 handful of dark red cherries

1 pear

5oz green tea brewed

1 Tbs raw local honey

2 packets stevia

1/4 tsp powdered vitamin C

Throw it all in blender and liquify for 5 minutes or until smooth

Happy slurping!

Not Even Winter Yet

photo by author

This was written during a power outage on Wednesday, 28 October.

We have no electricity. Power in town is also out. The prediction is to have it back on by 1pm tomorrow. In town. We are on a different grid so who knows how long before we have power. I’m mostly concerned with running water. Keith is going to do something to the well and he says something about a switch and a line and a generator but even though his words were all in English I’ve no early clue what he actually said. If that whatever doesn’t work, he will have to haul water from the stock tank so we can flush the toilets. I have 1/2 cup water from this morning and 1/2 mug of now cold coffee. We also have a few cans of beer and 2 bottles of wine. I have a protein drink and lots of chicken noodle soup. That’s our potable liquid at this point. Nothing in town is open. I worry for the people with central heat. We have propane stop we are warm at least. It is still October, right? Not even winter yet.

Depression Sucks

Author photo

Like, literally. Depression sucks joy, energy, motivation, hygiene, creativity, and the will to face one more day out of a person.

Depression isn’t the same thing as feeling sad. Sometimes, I do feel sad, though that is rare.

More often I feel heavy. Listless. Empty. Numb. My brain shuts down. I have a fairly high IQ, but depression sucks the smarts out of me.

My house is a wreck and depression sucks the will to fix it. I can’t seem to do an entire sink full of dishes in one sitting.

I can wash and dry my laundry but depression sucks my ability to take clean clothes from the dryer and put them away. Sometimes I manage to get the basketful of clean laundry to the bedroom, but there it stays.

Depression sucks my creativity. I’ve written entire books in my brain. But getting those words onto paper is nigh impossible.

Sometimes depression sucks my will to face another day. Sheer stubbornness keeps me from acting on suicidal ideation.

I am VERY stubborn.

People seem to want to read more about living with depression. I’ll be writing about it here and there. Feel free to ask questions or leave comments.