Tag Archives: Blogging

Where Has Shea McIntosh Ford Been?!

Original image credit: Juha Flinkman, SubZone OY via Wikimedia Commons.

Original image credit: Juha Flinkman, SubZone OY via Wikimedia Commons.

I’ll be honest, I enjoyed my media fast so much, I haven’t wanted to clutter my life with it again. Hence my prolonged absences from my blog and Facebook.

But I now have other reasons for not engaging much on social media. I’ve gotten back into the classroom again as a substitute teacher. I’ve missed teaching over these last 9 years but have been waiting for Charlie to be in kindergarten before reigniting my teaching career. Since we plan on moving out of state this winter, it didn’t make sense to get re-certified here. But at least I can get my feet wet…

Well, 4 days into the job and BOOM!

And extended position is offered to me! For the entire month of October, I’ll be dusting off my skills while I teach 11th grade English. I’ve been shadowing the permanent teacher the last couple of days and I’m excited to jump back in and see if I can handle it this time now that gluten is not in my system. It will be a good experiment to tell me if I can handle it now that I’m a mom.

I’m also excited to implement the permanent teacher’s strategies. I didn’t have that kind of opportunity the first time around, and I was sort of “winging it” with the textbook.

However…

I am still writing! Still working on the historical fiction about the lifting of Prohibition. 🙂 I’ll try to get more of my Grannie’s memories ready for posting.

I also have plans for a contest that I should have done a long time ago, so be on the look out for that! 😀

In the meantime, wish me luck on my new venture!

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4 Things I’ve Learned from My Media Fast

I wouldn't get too wrapped up in that, kid...

I wouldn’t get too wrapped up in that, kid…

I needed a media fast. I posted it on my Facebook page:

Hey folks, for anyone who might happen to care, I’ve decided to go on a FULL media fast for about a month. As an author in the digital age, I’ve been told I must be “connected.” I’ve created a blog and this FB page, I even go on Twitter and Instagram every so often. Being so connected may be good for me as an author, but with all this exposure to media comes things that are not good for me…as a person.

Because I’m not a faceless name on the internet. After what happened to those nine innocent people in Charleston, I’m exhausted. It was different because of how people reacted to our own history. No other event seems to have brought out so many unsympathetic people. The Chattanooga massacre, the Boston Marathon bombing, Sandy Hook, the Aurora theater shooting, etc…we all seem to grieve collectively for those. But somehow it was different for the AME Nine. And while the hype has died down, articles still crop up and I just flat out need a break.

I need a break from cynicism. I need a break from bullies. I need a break from people who don’t think words matter. I need a break from people who passively censor the ugly parts of southern history, because they don’t want to FEEL. I need a break from selfishness.

Go ahead and respond to my post if you want. Whatever it is you want to say, whether for or against, I won’t respond till I’m ready. God bless.

So now it’s been a month. While I didn’t engage in media viewing or reading, it’s still difficult to wholly avoid. But some positives came from the experience. Sometimes you have have to step out of the forest so you can stop focusing on the trees. 🙂

1. The Confederate Battle Flag still looks like a symbol of bigotry and oppression.

Especially when it’s a HUGE one flying down the road on the back of an over-sized pick-up. Preoccupied with size much? At least I got a month break from the people who shout “heritage, not hate” or “the Civil War was not about slavery.” They are the mindless drones who have never bothered to read Mississippi’s Declaration of Causes of Secession, among the other Southern States declarations of the time. Apparently, they prefer the fairy-tale version of history which omits lynchings, beatings, and ripping people from families.

*Shakes head sadly*

2. Donald Trump still looks likes a narcissistic bully.

Seriously? Where does this guy stand on actual issues? As of this published post, the only position he talks about on his political website is immigration. So if he becomes president, then American government can completely decay, education can continue to plummet, and our budget can do whatever it wants. But that’s okay, because we’ve eliminated all the illegal immigrants…one way or another.

I know the election is over a year away, but it disturbs me to see how he still has such a strong following. I haven’t yet figured out why people can’t see through him. But I’ve never been able to quite see how the German people couldn’t see through Hitler either.

I wish more people would go on a media fast. Trump’s pot of water is slowly heating up and the frogs are oblivious to their predicament.

3. Hillary Clinton’s comment about how religion needs to change is still foreboding.

Why in the world would she say that? What happened to freedom of religion? Should I prepare to channel my ancestral heritage and plan a pilgrimage to a land where I won’t be told how I should believe in my God? She’s as bad as the news outlets who tell me what I need to think.

Which leads me to my last point…

4. It finally clicked in my head that PBS is likely where I should get my news.

Part of my struggle to see the forest for the trees was caused by the frustration of being told what to think. I hate that. I’m not stupid. I don’t like feeling like a drone. I can draw my own conclusions, thank you very much.

PBS is not glamorous or sensational, so I’m sorry to say I overlooked it in my struggle to draw my own conclusions from biased media. On a smaller scale, I think PBS will help me continue my media fast. No more CNN-or FOX-like hypnotism.


Okay, so the only positive is the thing with PBS. But to me, that’s a big positive. I liked my month of not being fed opinions. A big part of me really doesn’t want to even get back to Facebook, but now that I’ve had a break, I should be able to just skip the things I don’t want to see. That’s an even bigger positive. 😀

Have you ever had to go on a media fast? Does the tabloid-like setting of our society exhaust you? How do you deal with it? Are you a media drone? How do you deal with being a drone?

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Finish What You Start

muse car seatDuring my blogcation, I also gave up writing in general (much to the chagrin of my muse) to focus on Charlie’s neurosurgery. The mother in me shoved Muse to the backseat, buckled it up, and let it listen once more to the audio version of the Harry Potter books just to keep it quiet so I could think more clearly about what was happening to my four-year old.

That worked for a little while.

But if you have kids, and even if you don’t, you’re probably well aware of how deafening the backseat can be. At least they’re strapped in. My ears are still ringing from the scream Charlie produced the other night. Nothing was wrong. He just felt like screaming.

Ow.

Muse did the same thing to me after we had to postpone the initial surgery date because Charlie picked up a cold. In full “Are we there yet?” mode, Muse gave me the desire to write-up a story based on my Grannie’s childhood and centering around the lifting of prohibition.

I wrote about ten pages.

Okay Muse, you need a bit of discipline. I’ve got an unfinished screenplay and the first half of another book in the works. I’ll never finish either of them if I keep starting other things.

Now that Charlie is fully recovered, Muse is brooding in time-out while I continue my screenplay to The Stone of Kings. Meanwhile, Inner Editor is shut in her room because she keeps reminding me that my page count is entirely too high for my characters to still be in Dublin and Kells.

**calls through the door** “I’ll fix it when it’s done!”

On the plus side, working on the screenplay immerses me once again into my story. So, in the spirit of finishing what I start, I’ll be resuming the analysis of characters for The Stone of Kings next Monday. Get ready to meet the fiery red-headed Hannah.

I’m picking up Wednesday Welcomes too! I’ve already got authors lined up for the next three months 😀 starting this week with the lovely Coleen Lahr! You’ll get to read a fun excerpt from her recent release, Accepted – maybe it isn’t where you belong, but who you belong with.

I’d love to hear from you!

Do you have trouble finishing what you start? Do you sometimes feel like a jail warden for your inspiration? Does your muse scream louder at you during times of stress?

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Filed under The Stone of Kings, Writing

#27 What Do You Like To Blog About The Most?

Neverending silliness!

Never-ending silliness!

Okay, so don’t get me wrong, I love blogging about my boys. They’re funny and always come up with great stuff to entertain. Be on the lookout for a few things on my adorable nephew too, who, due to distance, I don’t get to see nearly enough. But that’s all info I can easily share on facebook.

So I’ll be honest. I blog because I don’t really want to blog. It’s a writing challenge – that’s the purpose. It’s a way for me to improve my skills and build my author platform at the same time.

I’d have to say that I mostly like to blog about anything that pertains to whatever I’m writing. Lately much of it has been about Ireland because that is where The Stone of Kings is set. But I’ve also talked a bit about the evils of bigotry and prejudice because that is also a big theme in the book.

Come December, I may be writing more on the bigotry issue because my NaNo book is a mystery/suspense about the Civil War. I guess that’s why part of me really wants to get back into teaching. Just the four months of seeing the racism evident in the students that I taught…well, it shook me to the core. I had no idea that there were still people out there teaching their children the useless idea of hate.

It made me so sad for them.

That’s why I’ve titled my blog the way I have – Author of Open-Minded Fiction. I may move on to something else that I feel more people ought to be more open-minded about, but for now, it’s urging my readers to influence others to push hatred aside and find commonalities with each other.

When I begin to write my dystopia, I’ll probably start blogging more on making sure that we think for ourselves. Because, is it just me, or does it feel like our society is allowing the media and government to think more and more for us?

[This post was written as a part of the NaNoWriMo Pre-game Kick Off over at Jessica Schmeidler’s blog.]

NaNo word count: 24,464

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#10 Favorite Blogging Buddy Shout-Out

If you’ll be my milkshake buddy, can I be your blogging buddy? Image attributed to Clintus from Surprise, AZ, USA via Wikimedia Commons.

Hmm. Okay. I didn’t realize that one could have a blogging buddy. When I think of blogging buddies, I think of Four Foxes One Hound where there are five bloggers for one blog and each person writes a post for a specified topic that week.

I’m over here by my witty bitty self, just trying to come up with something really interesting to say every Monday. Guests handle Wednesdays and my kids usually handle Friday (when they’re not crawling up my legs instead).

I have a lot of writer friends from Astraea Press who blog (Four Foxes One Hound in particular), and I follow several other writer’s blogs. But I’m not sure I have a buddy per se. I’m not really a loner…more of an outsider. I’ll observe you, your group, laugh at your jokes, even tell a few of my own, but I’ll never really have a…connection. The only person I’ve really ever had a connection with (outside of blood family) is my hubby who, well, doesn’t blog.

So, how to write this post?

I guess maybe talk about my all-time favorite blogger? Well, hands down, that’s Kristen Lamb. You don’t even have to be remotely interested in writing to enjoy her blog. Anyone who can make me laugh out loud about her father’s ashes and her mother’s plans for taxidermy is well worth the read.

And if you do want to be a successful author? Well, look no further. Kristen Lamb is the Jillian Michaels of writing coaches. On the rare occasions when she goes on a blogcation or on the weekends when I need a good swift kick in the writing pants, I’ll go back through her archives and look for something inspiring. I’m never disappointed. And it helps to ease the pain of the Kristen Lamb withdrawals. 😉 I would love to say that she would be my buddy, and if she ever offered, it would be more like me hanging on her every humourous word and being too start struck to offer my own.

[This post was written as a part of the NaNoWriMo Pre-game Kick Off over at Jessica Schmeidler’s blog.]

NaNo word count: 8,031. Yeah. While everyone else was a-thoning, I was simply too semi-unexpectedly busy. But starting Monday, schedule’s wiiiide open. 😀

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#1 What Does Blogging Mean To You?

Image via Wikimedia with special thanks to the United States Marine Corps

I’ve subscribed to Kristen Lamb’s “WANA way” on blogging. And as a bonus, doing it this way forces me to try to channel some of her humor. For example, when I started writing on this topic, I had a dry list of why I blog.

Pathetic. *Highlight, delete*

Blogging pushes me like a boxing coach. Blogging is the nagging thoughts in the back of my mind everyday, “What are you going to write about this week? Huh? It’s gonna be dull, isn’t it. Just scribble away at your novels. Go on, be mediocre!”

To be honest, I don’t really care much for blogging. You know why? Cause it’s hard for me. Face it- no characters, no story, just topics. Who on earth cares what I have to say on topics?

But you know what? It my job as a writer to learn how to make them care. If I can start to grab a reader’s attention in a blog, I’ll be able to crank out the page turners. I know that if I want to be successful I gotta do the hard stuff. Will I get it every time? No. But I’ll keep trying till I do. Then I’ll keep trying some more.

“Get to work you lazy deadbeat! Come on, you’ve got a deadline!”

“Yeah, coach, I’m just finishing up this round of Candy Crush-”

“Candy what? That blog’s not gonna write itself. Now, get on it!”

“Yes, coach.”

Writing is a lonely business. Just you and your pen and paper. But it’s too easy to slip into thinking about your story and forgetting to actually write it down. I’m always looking for “down time” which is an excuse not to write. Down time is great, but as a writer, I find that blogging helps me to realize that I don’t need as much down time as I thought I did. I write because I enjoy it, after all!

[This post was written as a part of the NaNoWriMo Pre-game Kick Off over at Jessica Schmeidler’s blog.]

No word count for NaNo just yet due to lack of sleep. 🙂

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Filed under Blogging Contest, NaNoWriMo, Writing