Category Archives: Writing

Update: A Whole Lot of French + Goodbye Lucky Bamboo :(

The last two weeks have been kind of a blur (and I apologize because I missed writing an update last week).  I’ve been working on the editing project where I can.  It’s been slow work going, but at least it’s going. 🙂

In terms of language learning, I actually watched the final season of Game of Thrones in French (with English subtitles).  I put the final season on hold at the library, and thanks to delays due to covid quarantines, I finally got it.  I almost didn’t watch it because I don’t typically watch a lot on my own (although I admit I’m watching more on my own thanks to covid), but in the end I decided that I’d made it this far through the season that I might as well see how it ends.  Having it help my French learning was a definite bonus.

I did learn something very interesting about Google Play though: buying something digitally on that platform (and iTunes from what I could tell) only seems to give you audio in one language (in my case, English).  I found this out because one of the discs had a very fine scratch and wasn’t playing a scene from one of the episodes, so I bought it, but sadly had to watch it in English rather than in French.  So if you’re learning languages, especially common ones in your country/area (like French here in Canada), you’re better off watching DVDs.  Or Netflix – I’ve found lots of content in popular languages (like French, Spanish, Portuguese and Russian, but sadly not Ukrainian).

cover of Painless FrenchI was also super excited to find Painless French, a book I bought myself years ago for learning French!  I remembered seeing it at one point awhile ago, but when I started seriously learning French, I couldn’t find it and thought that maybe I had given it away.  I’m very happy to find that wasn’t the case!  I read through the first chapter over the weekend and really enjoyed it.  I’m hoping it will be a great resource for continuing to learn. 🙂

I’ve also made the decision to stop subscribing to Duolingo Plus.  Back in the summer when I was off work it made sense to subscribe since I was trying to jam in as much language learning as I could.  But now that I’m back at work (and editing), I have a lot less time for language learning.  And now that I’m done the Ukrainian tree, I’m also just not wanting to use Duolingo as much as I did.  I started the reverse tree (learning English as if I were a native Ukrainian speaker), which has given me a few new Ukrainian words, but overall I’m not really enjoying it.  I’m also not having as much fun with the French Tree and would like to have more time to go off and try other resources (like Painless French).  At this point I’m still planning on using Duolingo a bit (I would like to finish the French tree one day, even if I don’t make it a golden tree); just not nearly as much as I was.

my sad lucky bamboo plantIn other sad news, my lucky bamboo died on me. It was doing okay, then a few weeks ago I noticed the stem turned yellow.  I don’t think I did anything like last time when I put fertilizer into the water without realizing that was super bad for lucky bamboo.  My best guess this time around is that it’s due to the water; we have issues with lead in our pipes in my city right now.  I filter drinking water for me and Merlin using a filter that takes lead out, but I wasn’t using that for my plants (and the lucky bamboo is going to take the brunt of any lead that’s in the water because it’s just sitting in water).  While I’m very sad to lose it, I can honestly say I have done my best for this plant (and it was fine for quite awhile after I fertilized it – that happened back in November 2019!  It lived for over a year since that happened!)

 

I also finally got some (English) fun reading in!  I went through a bit of a dry spell this month where I wasn’t reading anything, but then a friend sent me a copy of his book and suddenly I’m reading again! But more about all of that on Thursday. 😉

So that’s been my last few weeks.  How’s everything going for you? 🙂

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Interview #80!

The eightieth author interview went live today on TBPL Off the Shelf! This time I interviewed author Karen Osborne about her new duology, the pleasures of writing short fiction, and world building aliens.  You can find the interview here.

 

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Interview #79!

The seventy-ninth author interview went live last week on TBPL Off the Shelf! This time I interviewed author Mary Beth Leatherdale about her new book, Terry Fox and Me, sharing stories of people, and co-editing books.  You can find the interview here.

 

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#WriteTuesday – Starting to Think About Writing…

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I feel like this last week literally flew by!  But that’s ok – overall the week felt pretty good (although I did find myself feeling a bit overwhelmed by everything at times too – it’s looking like a second wave of Covid is hitting my country and province).  I’ve been just trying to take everything one day at a time, and to that end, I also wanted to start tackling things like my email, which was getting a bit out of control (I really need to consider unsubscribing from some things….)

But in the middle of everything, I was starting to feel a glimmer of actually WANTING to write something, which is pretty exciting.  I haven’t really been working on any projects since finishing Of Pieces and Memories (I attempted to work on editing “A Friend From the Deep,” but that story felt an awful lot like writing about self isolation, which I’m honestly not ready to do).  I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to work on next, but I do have some ideas of themes that I’d like to explore a bit more before committing to anything. We’ll see how it goes.

My main goal right now is to not overwhelm myself.  I’m studying two languages right now, plus I gave myself a whole bunch of reading for articles for work.  So adding a little brainstorming work in shouldn’t be too overwhelming; I can start working on something once I finish off that reading!

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Update – Lots of Reading + Language Learning

Apologies for no post last week; I was on vacation from work and forgot. 😦

Over the last few weeks I haven’t really done any writing; I’ve been trying to read a whole bunch of Massey Lectures for an upcoming @ Your Library article I’m planning on writing for work (that’s the column the library I work at publishes in the local paper).  I’m hoping to get through another two more Massey Lectures (and in a perfect world I’ll have time to reread A Short History of Progress, but realistically that won’t be happening before the article is due).  Wish me luck!

I’ve also been continuing with the language learning, both Ukrainian and French.  I signed up for iTalki and had my first lesson in Ukrainian last week; I really liked the teacher and have another lesson booked for this weekend. 🙂  Right now I’m only planning on booking Ukrainian lessons on iTalki since there’s still a lot more French to learn on Duolingo…maybe once I eventually get to the end of the Duolingo French tree then I’ll try French on iTalki too (lol but that’s a looong way off from now).

So how have you been over the last few weeks?  What’s new and exciting?  🙂

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#WriteTuesday: The Return!

Happy September everyone!  Did you have a good weekend?  This weekend was Labour Day here in Canada; I was very happy to have an extra day off (although I mainly spent the time reading The Huntress by Kate Quinn – I needed to get through it for a book review that’s due this week)!  I am happy to say though that I also fit in some editing time.  I actually pulled out the notebook I use to break down my goals for the week into manageable chunks (I haven’t used it since February! 😮 ) – I used it just to plan out what I needed to do over the weekend (mostly reading and editing). I’m happy to say that I managed to get through pretty much all of my goals. 🙂

Oh, and earlier in the week, I was also a guest host on the Thunder Bay Public Library’s weekly show Read This Next, which airs on Fridays. Nicole and I chatted about video game books – we gave highlights based on games that are coming out this fall, talked about our personal video game book recommendations, and just generally chatted about video games.  I had so much fun!  Check it out here:

Other than that, I’m still working on French and Ukrainian, mainly on Duolingo.  I tried watching a movie in French without subtitles about a week ago; I couldn’t follow the dialogue, but thankfully I was able to follow the story thanks to the visuals.  Then a few nights ago I watched a movie in Ukrainian, but with English subtitles; my Ukrainian isn’t as strong as my French, but I was happy to be able to pick out a few words on my own here and there.  Oh, and I was really excited: while reading The Huntress, one of the characters has a tattoo on her foot in Cyrillic.  Even though it was in Russian, I was able to understand what it said (it was the numbers for six hundred and sixteen)!

So how’s your week been?  Anything new and exciting? 🙂

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My “Few Week Break” Went a Bit Longer Than Planned…

Hey everyone! How’s it going? I had planned to give an update some time ago, but life happened.  As I’m sure it has been for many of you, too, life has been a bit of a roller-coaster during this pandemic.

For the last few months, I haven’t been working on any writing.  After finishing Of Pieces and Memories, I was reluctant to start working on another project mainly because I thought I’d be going back to work soon.  While I am back at work now, that took longer than I expected.

But during this time, I haven’t been idle.  Back in June I started learning Ukrainian on Transparent Languages, a language learning app offered by my local library.  I chose Ukrainian because my dad speaks it, so I thought it would be a good choice as I’d have someone to converse with.  While we haven’t spoken together much yet, we have sent each other some letters in Ukrainian.  It’s been a lot of fun getting them. 🙂

coloured picture of a cat person

I coloured the character Birdsong to look like Merlin. 🙂

Then I was talking to a friend of mine who doesn’t live in Canada; he was surprised that all Canadians weren’t bilingual because we have two official languages here.  In the end we agreed to learn French together, so suddenly I was learning two languages (although I do know some basic French from elementary and high school, so I’ve been able to progress faster with it than with Ukrainian – I found that, especially in the first month or so, I had to go really slowly with Ukrainian to give my brain time to absorb the new words I was learning).  So yes, I’m now learning two languages! 🙂  I then talked my mom into learning French with me (we attempted to take a French class together a few years ago but it was cancelled on us), and have found a few other friends who are learning French too.

At that time I switched from Transparent Languages to Duolingo for both languages.  I’m loving Duolingo!  I actually just recently achieved a 50 day streak on the app, which is super exciting. 🙂  I do wish there was a bit more Ukrainian content on it though; the French course has these super fun stories, and it’s too bad that the Ukrainian course doesn’t have something similar.

Other than the language learning, I’m currently just trying to stay healthy and positive.  I did a lot of colouring in the early months of the pandemic (also helped by Idle Champions’ #idlecoloring, which offered in-game content to the community based on colouring done over the week), and continue to colour if I’m feeling particularly stressed from things.  I’ve also been listening to music.  I listened to a lot of Solitudes in the beginning of the pandemic, but lately I’ve been listening to songs in French and Ukrainian.  Here’s my favourite Ukrainian song, ПЕРЕЖИВЕМ by SKAI – my dad translated the words for me (the title means “We Will Live”):

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Taking a Few Week Break

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  I’ve been late or missed the last few #WriteTuesday posts, so I’ve decided I’m going to take a break from writing them for the next couple of weeks (although I will still write my June What Are You Reading Post, which will appear on the last Thursday of the month).  I’m currently planning on resuming #WriteTuesday in July; I hope everyone has a good couple of weeks! 🙂

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Wow, It’s June!

Where is the time going? I can’t believe we’re already a week into June!

I forgot to write a #WriteTuesday post last week because I was gardening.  I’m very happy with how my gardens have turned out – it makes me very happy to be hanging outside with Merlin. 🙂

pic of my garden

As for this week, I don’t really have an excuse.  I’m still feeling pretty blah because I haven’t got a big writing project on the go.  I did some work on “A Friend from the Deep,” specifically looking at the characters of the story, but haven’t gotten any further than that so far, even though I do have some ideas on how to rewrite the story.  We’ll see how that goes this week (or if I should start working on something else instead?)

How about you? How’s everything going? 🙂

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#WriteTuesday – a Blah Sort of Week

Hey everyone, how’s it going?  How are you holding up through all of this?

Ever since I finished Of Pieces and Memories last week, I’ve been in a kind of blah mood (at least once the initial excitement of finishing wore off).  My problem was that I didn’t know what to work on next.  I could go take a look at “A Friend from the Deep” and see about editing it (it got rejected a few times, so I’m thinking it needs some work).  I could look over “Of Skeletons and Sorcerers,” which also needs some editing.  I could start tackling Tears of the King, which is long overdue.  Or I could go do something totally new.  What to do?

While I was thinking about it, I decided to read through some more magazines that I had stockpiled.  I managed to snag the 2018 Writer’s Digest magazines from the library at the beginning of the year when they were withdrawn to make room for this year’s, so I’ve been mostly flipping through those (I also got caught up on all the emails from Writer’s Digest, so it’s been a week of reading about writing!)  While, at least right now, I’m not really finding the magazines satisfying in the way that reading a book is (which also means I need to start reading a book…), I’ve gotten some great writing tidbits, which also gave me a few ideas of how to tackle “A Friend From the Deep.”  So it’s looking like that’s what I’ll be working on this week!  I found my copy of it last night so I’m ready to go today. 🙂

How about you?  Any plans for the coming week?

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