Of Harps and Heroes

It’s July and once again, I am up to my eyebrows in Camp Nanowrimo.

In keeping with the title of my blog, I practice playing my harp between scribbling sessions. Here’s an example of the sort of music I like to play.

The harp isn’t my only instrument. I also play guitar and ukulele. Some years ago, I used to write songs to entertain my friends.  I had quite a collection and actually published a few as part of a fundraiser. It was one of my first editing projects and turned out to be a very successful one. For years, all my friends would greet me with song requests. Good times.

I used to read a lot of fantasy novels by the likes of John Myers Myers and Charles de Lint containing song lyrics and sometimes even sheet music in the back. It was a delightful thing to learn that my favorite writers had one more thing in common with me besides a love of good stories, that being a love of music. Great writers are usually such far away entities, bridging the miles with words. The idea of them doing so with music as well made it doubly wonderful.

Well…There is a tendency to imitate one’s heroes. I began working on a writing project some time ago, a rambling tale of a young minstrel’s adventures. Along the way, I felt the need to invent names for imaginary folk songs. Some of those titles inspired actual song lyrics, which in turn led to me sitting down with my instruments to experiment with tunes for them. It’s funny how one art can overlap with another.

If I can navigate the learning curve involved in publishing my first novel, it occurs to me that this other project may end up online someday as well. If so, there will be lyrics in the final draft, and possibly sheet music in the back. Perhaps I’ll even record a few of the songs and use them to promote the stories.

If so, there will have to be some kind of dedication page, to acknowledge those who showed me it could be done and inspired me to want to do the same. It’ll likely be difficult to write as I get all soppy over such things. What do you say to people you admire, who have unknowingly touched your heart and had a profound effect on your way of thinking and writing?

Thanks for the songs and stories. You guys are awesome.

Warrior Princess

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Great pic, right? That’s me. . . The epitome of fitness. I look pretty awesome in this photo.
Unfortunately, it was taken a few years ago. I’ve gained a little weight since then. OK, I’ve gained a lot of weight and I need to do something about it.

Lifestyle changes are never easy though. In “Spa,” a short story I wrote some years ago, my main character desperately wanted to lose weight and went through some horrifying measures to do so. The story was inspired by a nightmare I had while on a strict weight loss regimen. I am a very patient and moderate dieter but a reduction diet always amounts to a kind of slow starvation. Ah well, such things build character.

I’ve been through the weight loss process dozens of times. Since my early teens, the bathroom scale has pointed to numbers ranging from 130 all the way up to 260. Over the years I’ve learned to moderate my food intake, work out regularly, and stay active in any way I can. My weight has remained well below the high mark for over a decade and I’ve long since given up the former anorexic ideal. The real goal is not to look like a fashion model, but rather to look healthy like in the picture above.

Currently, my appearance is more on the pudgy side. I’ve been practicing my yoga, walking or dancing to the radio, and working at a standing desk. I basically do all the half measures, but they aren’t enough. It’s time for me to toughen up.

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Me again, a few quite a few years ago.

When I participate in health forums, I use the name Xena because weight loss is a battle. The enemy is within, but the fight is a worthy one and the prize is better health. I’ve lost some ground but am strategizing on how to move the skirmish line forward again. The good news is I don’t have to do it alone. There are dozens of websites out there featuring helpful information and peer support, many of which don’t cost a dime. With some serious effort and a little luck, maybe I will eventually feel more like posting a more current selfie instead of these old ones. Here’s hoping.