Introducing Rorshach…

One week ago, we introduced a new member to our pack.

The elusive Canis Squirrelus Felineus Lupe Ball of Fur and Magic

Rorshach is an 8 week old Siberian Husky. Which makes him 5% panda bear, 10% dog, 15% squirrel, 10% wolf and 50% cat by my observation. (Disclaimer: If the numbers are off, I never claimed to be a mathematician.)

He’s adapted rather quickly to his new home. I’m sure it helped that J’ouvert is absolutely in love with him. She’s kind of like a dingo, only instead of eating the baby after she steals it, she wants to raise it herself and indoctrinate it into the way of the Malinois. Which generally involves lots of biting and destruction.

A husky and a malinois? Am I insane?

Yeah, probably.

At least it’s never dull.

P.S. A “Rorshach” is the inkblot test psychologists use to analyze their subject’s perception. It’s also the name of one of my favorite characters from the graphic novel and movie Watchmen.


I’m one of those people that makes everything a lot more difficult than it has to be.

Not sure why, but despite my minimalist lifestyle and tendencies, I’m definitely missing the simplify gene . It could be the anxiety, or the fact that my patience might as well be a damn creature of myth.

Whatever the reason, I’ve got to combat it. One of the first lesson’s in Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways course teaches you that every problem presents an opportunity, so long as you’re willing to pay attention and think it through.

Yesterday, when I was so totally not procrastinating at work by looking for inspiration for a blog post (because I am a goddamn professional thank you very much), I came across an e-mail that had been gathering cob webs in my inbox for the past few weeks. It was a blog post from a site I’d subscribed to, Write To Done. Though always informative, their articles are often hit-or-miss for me because they cater more towards freelance writers than writers of fiction. (Not that that should ever dissuade you. I’ve “tiefed” writing advice from the most unlikely of places, including but not limited to art books. You can apply almost anything to writing if you look hard enough.) This post hooked me right from the title, How To Write Smart, Not Fast

I am not and probably never will be a “fast writer”.

The very thought of Fast Draft pushes me head-first into a panic attack. I’ve tried lots of different ways to boost my writing speed, but most of the time I just end up getting in my own way. And there’s a very good reason for that, almost no one else’s method takes into account what your own strengths and weaknesses are.

Now, I’m not telling you not to take advice from other writers. You absolutely should. Just keep in mind that you may need to adjust their methods to better suit your needs. Because everyone’s mileage varies.Personally, I’m just really bad at adjusting other people’s methods. I feel like I’m violating their process.

In case you were concerned, yes, I’m completely aware of how illogical that sounds.

Alas, How To Write Smart, Not Fast has come to my rescue with some handy-dandy advice about coming up with your own system tailored to your own personal strengths and weaknesses. I will be test-driving this method for the next few weeks, but I’ve already reaped a huge benefit.

In making a list of my strengths and weaknesses, I noticed I’m really good at writing in an engaging and emotional head space. The emotional risks come easy to me, it’s all that plotty stuff that kicks my ass.

So for my last weakness I put down “showing character through plot…sometimes I feel my plot dictates one thing but the character dictates another and so they end up contradicting eachoth-”

And then it hit me. Like a piano dropped from twenty stories high.

Why, in the name of all that’s blood and gore-ie, was I not showing that in the narrative? That. That right there is the heart of great conflict. But I, dumb-ass that I can be, had completely missed the point.

Don’t get me wrong, I love figuring stuff out. I just hate how stupid it makes me feel for not catching on sooner.

P.S. The blog title is actually a chess move. It means “I adjust”

Don’t Write What Doesn’t Matter

Note to self: ^^^^^ THIS

Self to Note: DUH.

If you don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m sorry I can’t link to the specific video because it’s apart of Holly Lisle’s How To Think Sideways course. But I can direct you to S. Winchester’s post which, while not talking about the video at all, still gets the gist of what it was about.

Enjoy… I’ll be in the corner, wearing my dunce cap for not catching onto this, like, 12 years ago and saving myself a lot of unnecessary clutter in my stories. *headmeetdesk*

A-Z Meme

A – Age: 26
B – Book you are reading: Ghosts of Tsavo by Vered Ehsani
C – Chore you hate: Small talk
D – Dessert you love:  Too many to name. I have an enormous sweet tooth. Particularly anything s’mores related.
E – Essential start your day item: Coca-Cola.
F – Favorite author/ book: I have way too many beloved books to pick just one. Favorite Authors: Joely Sue Burkhart, Holly Lisle,
G – Gold or silver: Silver
H – Height: 5’7
I – Instruments you play: None sadly, but I’ve always wanted to learn the violin.
J – Job title:  Writer. K-9 Trainer. Artist.
K – Kid(s): Two. One baby dolphin (my last gig was Dolphin Training) and a Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd Royal Bahamian Potcake named J’ouvert.
L – Living arrangements: Permanent Renter.
M – Most overused word/phrase in your vocabulary: Things that would be censored on television for 500…
N – Nicknames: Shaynone, Sarge, Thannon, Shan, Evanka, Trouble.
O – Overnight hospital stay other than birth: Thankfully not.
P – Pet Peeve: People who can’t think for themselves.
Q- Quotes you like:  “Semper Fidelis”. If I could convince myself to get tattooed, my body would be littered with every quote I’ve ever fallen in love with.
R – Right or left handed: Right
S – Siblings: One sister, who I would not trade for anyone.
T – Time you woke up today: 8:55 am
U – Unique thing about you: As soon as I find out a person’s zodiac sign, I mentally chart how their personality fits with everything I know about the particular sign….
V – Vegetable you love: Potato
W – Worst habit: Procrastinating…usually as a result of over-thinking. I over-think about over-thinking.
X – X-rays you’ve had: Right arm…fractured…twice
Y – Yummy food you make: I make an epic Turkey, a damn good banana bread, a decent Cottage Pie, and a not bad Curry Chicken.
Z – Zodiac Sign: Scorpio

Dum Spiro, Spero : Duex

Every year, I return to dust the cobwebs off my humble base on the blogosphere. Every year, I return with a vision of how this year, this year will be different. Every year, I label that vision ‘Operation’, and hope that by naming it so, it will kick the relentless all or nothing switch in my brain into overdrive. I know it’s there, because I use it with just about everything else that I do. Every year, I return with conquest in my blood and first of the year idealism ringing in my ears like a war drum.
And every year, I start with great promise only to stall, fall short, and burn out by no later than March. And every month after, I agonized. How did I allow this to happen? Where did I go wrong? Why can’t I soldier through this as easily as I do everything else? I can do anything I set my mind to. So why do I fail at this, the only thing I’ve ever really wanted to do?
If any of this sounds familiar, peace. You’re not alone, but I have some good and bad news.
The good news is there’s a way out. The bad news is the only way out is through.
Sometimes I forget things that I’ve written and other times, things I’ve written have haunted me. Confronting the Void‘s an odd mixture of both.
If you’re anything like me, The Void is your worst enemy. It’s that first word. First sentence. First sense of crippling self-doubt and failure. Maybe your Void is different because your mileage varies and we’re all triggered by different fingers but I think the heart of it is always fear of failure. Worse, the fear of failing the only thing you’ve ever wanted to do, the one thing you’re supposedly good at.
So I’m here once again to remind myself and whoever may need it: if you never dare to try, you can never hope to succeed.

And She Who Dares, Wins.
So tomorrow, when Operation 2016 goes live, I will strive again.
I will breathe and hope.
And if you’re struggling to make your life, and whatever you wish to make of it, a priority, then I hope you will too.

First of the Year

“I might only have one match, but I can make an explosion.” – Rachel Platten, Fight Song.

It’s the first of the year and I’m settling both into my new home and into the new website.  So much has changed over the past year. Past five years really.

Ever since I came back from England, there’s been a quiet unraveling. A silent revolution working it’s way through all my previously conceived notions. My once tried and true beliefs.

I’ve changed, and I continue to do so from one second straight on to the next. Which was undoubtedly always true, but that trip to England in ’09 set things in motion I would have never imagined. 2015’s highlights were particularly interesting…

  • I met a man named Dwight Higgins. He is the owner of Elite K-9 Work Dogs and is the best working dog trainer on the island. After several shop-talks, in which he admitted he would soon be leaving for Australia indefinitely, I decided I would stop at nothing until he agreed to teach me everything he knows.
  • And he did so…
  • I quit my EDJ as a Dolphin Trainer
  • WhenIMetJu
    When I met Ju…

    …and got a dog. Her name is J’ouvert (pronounced ju-vey). She’s a year and 2 month old Belgian Malinois/German Shepherd Mix “Royal Bahamian Potcake”. This picture was taken the first day we met. She was 6 months at the time and a complete handful to her previous owners. She’s without a doubt the best thing that happened to me in 2015…

  • I started a mobile dog training service called K-9 Elites
  • I started working with De-Nature Photography as a model, photo editor, concept artist and content writer.
  • I started branding myself on Instagram
  • Including my writing
  • We moved. Again.

And here we are. It’s the first of the year and I am breathing and hoping for 2016 to be a year of continued progress and prosperity.

For more Instapoems, follow my writing on Instagram: @raining_ink

Confronting the Void

Yesterday, I woke to chaos.

I’ve never been an organized person, but more and more I’ve come to realize that my old “controlled-chaos” habits no longer serve my needs. So, I took a deep breath and threw myself into the work with the same bull-headed determination I apply to most tasks. The morning consisted of ripping the room apart just to put it back together. I can see my floor now. This is a huge accomplishment. Going through the motions did more for me than just on an aesthetic level, it helped to relieve me of the mental clutter I’ve been dragging around for the past year.

It seemed like such a pain in the ass at first. Yet now, having done it, I feel a lot better. I can tackle my goals without feeling so claustrophobic and boxed-in.

I can pat myself on the back and tell my inner critic, “See? I’m not worthless. I do things!”

Back in 2010, I was heavy into my training in the hopes of enlisting in the British Armed Forces. Running, once the bane of my existence, had become the foundation which made or broke my daily workout regime. If I didn’t get out the door to do a run, the whole day fell apart. And there were days, especially in England, where the weather outside greatly affected my enthusiasm.

Adapt or die. I adopted the runner’s mantra quickly, “The first step out the door is the hardest.” Suddenly, I actually quite enjoyed running in the rain.

Put another way, you can’t edit a blank page. And maybe the first word is the hardest.
In The Artist Way, Julia Cameron called it ‘resisting the jump’. I prefer ‘confronting the void’.

Sometimes, you just need to show up and look (pay attention), and you’ll discover there’s a light down in the abyss after all. Other times, you may need to bite the bullet, to take the leap.

If I’ve learned anything in all of this, it’s that bull-headed determination and a dash of courage can go a long way.

​Don’t fear the void.