Becoming a Writer After All

My life has been a complete surprise yet somehow it has led me back to my first passion- writing.

It just took 40 years of living a strange life before this avid reader and crazy oral story-teller started writing again; this time though, it is in humility. After rinsing out diapers for 19 years in the toilet, it is impossible to stay egotistical. Outwardly, my life is diametrically opposed to anything I could have imagined as a teenager.Yet this strange life I find myself living has brought me more fulfilment and joy than I ever could have imagined as well as a wealth of writing material.

I was an avid reader who loved school. As expected, I completed an Honours Degree in English Literature. By 23, my life was still on track. I considered continuing my studies as a graduate student because I still delighted in an academia and wanted to become a writer.

I loved my life and didn’t for see any changes. I had grown up with one sister, ballet lessons and a library filled with great fiction. I enjoyed gardening, painting and drawing, eating a vegetarian diet, reading spiritual literature and growing in my faith ; I was content.

Suddenly, my life as I knew it, changed dramatically.

I met Michael, who was just passing through Regina, Saskatchewan from Ottawa, Ontario to Prince George, British Columbia and from that very first moment, it felt like the prairie wind had swooped down and scattered all my work and plans. Michael described our first meeting in much kinder terms; he saw fireworks when he first laid eyes on me.

I was not ready for this dramatic change in my life but it was clear to me that this was a call from God. So I baffled my fellow students, profs, advisers, friends and family by saying yes to the unexpected. I did not know anything about my newly chosen lifestyle or even where we would live. I did realize that I was completely ignorant and lacked even the most basic skills required to survive.

I became pregnant before our first wedding anniversary. Instantly, I began to panic because I knew, that once again, I was utterly unprepared. I had never even held a newborn! So I prepared in the only way I knew how and I read every book I could find on pregnancy, birth and baby care.

However all this studying did little to equip me to mother a fragile, completely dependent newborn. For example, as I held my baby in a small bathtub for his first bath, I was very nervous. Guess what? I had a book propped open with one elbow awkwardly holding it open to the right page, while my baby was in the baby bathtub on the table. The book was my security blanket. In fact reading at any odd moment I could grab a few seconds , strong cups of tea plus the mercy of God and a wicked sense of humour have been my strength. God also place His mother in my heart, giving me a mother’s ferocious love and patience.

In the ensuing years, 18 spent pregnant and/or nursing babies, I discovered fulfilment. My call, vocation and witness became the joy of mothering children. Perhaps I could have started writing seven years ago when everyone was in school full-time but realistically there was simply too much physical work involved in running a household for eleven people and helping with the farm animals and our large vegetable garden.

Now I have come around full circle because I have started writing again. Just as I imagined at 16. It just took 40 years of living a strange life before this avid reader and crazy oral story-teller was ready to start writing; this time though, it is in a lot more humility. After rinsing out diapers for 19 years in the toilet, it is impossible to stay egotistical

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I Think, I Feel, I Write

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 think low and think high.

Oh, the thinks you can think up

if only you try!
Dr. Seuss 

Secretary typingI have often needed  help during my first year on the internet.  I barely understand 21st century technology. Other writers always answer my how toquestions.  More importantly, fellow bloggers comment on articles, award them and promote my blog without expecting anything in return. What an unexpected example of Christian charity for a ‘stranger’ who is  a novice on the computer. For example,  seeker told me what a Daily Prompt was and how to link to another blog. I had struggled for an hour to get the link to work. Here I unwittingly inserted an extra http so nothing worked!

As well, people often send information on publishing, especially my dear friend Isabel Anders. She even wrote a glowing endorsement to send with my proposals to editors and publishers. I am not sure I live up to her description but it sure sounds impressive.

 Qualifications

“Melanie Juneau—motherofnine9—knows that a woman’s ground of creativity lies as close as her child’s heart. In her delightful stories and memories of mothering nine children, she shows how a Christian mother bathed in love brings all the power and light embodied in her faith to that most important sphere of hope, the family.”

—Isabel Anders, author of Blessings and Prayers for Married Couples and Miss Marple: Christian Sleuth.

 

Badge made for  me at CatholicMom.com by Sarah Reinhard.

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badge made for CatholicMom.com

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Badge made for Catholic Bloggers Network by  of Equipping Catholic Families

thematticuskingdom gave me advice and guidance on how to write on photos

 Thank-you everyone. You can only guess how much I appreciate your constant help, advice and encouragement. I pray that I will pay it forward every day

 

Emerson Mertens: Expressing Joy and Inspiring Hope

Expressing Joy and Inspiring Hope ~ Through the Art of Dance
Emerson Mertens ~
Dancer, Choreographer,
Instructor, Company Director,
Actress, Photographer, Writer
In my mind, a dancer’s body creates art, like paint on the brush of an artist or words on through the finger tips of a writer. The movements of a dancer speak as loudly as words on paper. It’s like watching a pen or paintbrush in motion displaying the beauty of each delicate movement…a true form of communication.
Em is a ballet dancer with a mission. She explains on her blog,

“I desire to use my training in the arts to bring hope, joy, and inspiration to the students I teach, to those who work with me, and to those who may watch me perform. I want to show others who God has made me to be and touch their lives in some way through my expression of the arts.”

read more at…. http://melaniejeanjuneau.wordpress.com/2013/07/03/emerson-merten-expressing-joy-and-inspiring-hope/

Melanie Jean Juneau is a petite wife, writer and mother of nine children. When the words “The Joy of Mothering on a Hobby Farm” popped into her head as a subtitle for her short stories it was like an epiphany for her because those few words verbalized her experience living with little people. The very existence of a joyful mother of nine children seems to confound people. Her writing is humorous and heart warming; thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong currant of spirituality running through it. Part of her call and her witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life, especially a life lived in God. My writing is humourous and heart warming/ thoughtful and thought provoking with a strong currant of spirituality running through it. Part of my call and my witness is to write the truth about children, family, marriage and the sacredness of life, especially a life lived in God

 

Why it Is Better to Be a Canadian, NOT an American

July 1st, as Canada Day celebrates its 146th birthday, I celebrate Canada’s triumphs. Next to the United States we might seem insignificant but remember: looks are deceiving.

Maclean’s Magazine just published a Canada vs. America issue proclaiming “99 Reasons Why it’s Better to Be Canadian:We’re happier, fitter and richer and our kids are smarter too.” You can read all the statistics in the July 8, 2013 edition of Maclean’s.

Of course I read this issue with glee. I am not competitive in my personal life, choosing to also praise and exhort others, but I have an ingrained, historically rooted compulsion to out rank the powerful country to the south of me. Perhaps it is a David and Goliath syndrome. Here is a list of why I love Canada, a handful of  the stats do come from Maclean’s.

  1. We are more popular; wearing a maple leaf on your backpack means people treat you well in other countries
  2. We say eh? a word reaching out in agreement and not huh? which just sounds like the speaker is dumb
  3. One square kilometre of land for every three people4 %2841%29
  4. We are funnier- Wayne and Schuster, Lorne Michaels, John Candy, Mike Myers,Jim Carrey, Catherine O’Hara, Seth Rogen Jay Baruchel,Michael Cera….
  5. Our banks are better- 4 of the top ten in the world are Canadian, the top U.s. bank ranked 9th-Citigroup
  6. For our population we break more Guinness world records
  7. Our government does not kill people; capital punishment was abolished in 1776 and no one has been executed since 1961. The States has 3,125 prisoners on death row.
  8. maple syrup
  9. We are more fit. 35.9 Americans are obese and only 24.5 OF Canadians are overweight.
  10. We live longer- an average of 3 years longer than Americans
  11. images (5)
  12. Americans always make fun of us because we are polite; we always say. “I’m sorry” but researchers at the University of Waterloo say it is boosts happiness. Apologizing to the police for speeding results in an average drop of $51 in fines
  13. The wilderness — we still have lots of it
  14. Our lobster tastes better
  15. Our roads are safer
  16. Fewer homicides per person and mass murders are rare
  17. Our national animal, the beaver, is industrious and rugged
  18. The salmon run
  19. We lead in quantum computing
  20. Our judges are appointed not voted in
  21. We can read the cereal box and road signs in two different languages
  22. A whole T.V. channel dedicated to politicians bickering
  23. Place Names that come from Aboriginal languages
  24. 320354_771625335672_936945032_n
  25. We have better skiing with more ski trails, longer runs and more snow on Canada’s Whistler Mountain compared to America’s Vail
  26. We dominate hockey; it is Canada’s game
  27. We get more paid holidays. 23% of Americans get no paid time off. ALL Canadian workers get at least 2 weeks paid vacation + 9 paid public holidays
  28. Newfies – I love their accent and sense of humour. They are the salt of the earth
  29. The north is a land of untouched beauty
  30. Driving for miles across the flat prairies. We spotted a farmhouse that was 60 kilometres away!
  31. Easy geography classes: we only have ten provinces and three territories
  32. Excellent education system ; our 15 year-olds score in the top 10 of 65 countries. American kids are #17.
  33. MORE POOR KIDS GO TO UNIVERSITY- 54% OF LOW INCOME KIDS GO TO UNIVERSITY COMPARED TO 30% OF POOR AMERICAN KIDS
  34. Lots of immigrants — this is the place people from all over the world want to come to!
  35. Our Government apologizes for past mistakes!
  36. We get Visits from the Queen and other Royals
  37. Our corporate taxes are lower
  38. An almost peaceful history
  39. Intelligent population
  40. canada-scenery-582-2
  41. When spring comes, we appreciate it
  42. We know how to make good, strong, HOT tea
  43. The weather is a legitimate topic of conversation and we ALWAYS talk about the weather
  44. Toques
  45. Coffee Crisp … Only available in Canada!
  46. Affordable university tuition
  47. Lots of fresh water!
  48. We’re less pushy than some other countries
  49. We let everyone come here, and do their thing. Even if they wouldn’t do the same for us.
  50. Ketchup chips … Only here.
  51. Moose,Elk, Deer
  52. Brown Bears,Polar Bears
  53. So many rivers and lakes- we live in the land of a thousand islands
  54. Great fishing, especially in fly in camps up north
  55. Majestic mountains
  56. Coasts on three oceans
  57. Second largest country in the world
  58. Largest prosperous country in the world
  59. Freedom
  60. Peacekeepers
  61. images (6)
  62. Aboriginal people who have fought in all the wars, with an astounding war record
  63. Official recognition of rights of Aboriginal Nations embedded in our national constitution
  64. No one ever won between the French and the English: we just compromised!
  65. Every landscape imaginable, all in one magnificent country
  66. Enormous National Parks
  67. Anne of Green Gables
  68. Lots of hockey rinks, great outdoor skating rinks in almost every village, town and city. We even have one and our population isn’t even posted
  69. Car heaters that plug-in when it’s cold. Even store parking lots provide plug-ins
  70. Icicles- some are 3-4 feet long from our roof
  71. Skating and hot chocolate
  72. Beaver Tails
  73. 224834a50d6cd49cc0b64dd74a46c988The longest skating rink in the world on Ottawa’s canal
  74. Sound of crickets
  75. The sound of Canada Geese flying back from their holiday in the South
  76. We spell colour and neighbourhood the right way
  77. We are proud of our British roots
  78. Northern Lights, or Aurora Borealis
  79. We love to make fun of ourselves
  80. We love to make fun of people who don’t know anything about us, especially Americans
  81. Terry Fox was one of us
  82. Gordon Lightfoot
  83. Lenard Cohen
  84. Arctic Rangers
  85. The change of seasons
  86. Incredible beauty
  87. The tundra
  88. Best opera house in North America is Toronto’s Four seasons Centre built by Jack Diamond who built Mariinsky 11 theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia by invitation of Valery Geriev

 

Discovering Our Own Writing Style

womanwritingPaintingA reading prompt once challenged me to:

Write about how you choose to write about others in your blog. (Friends, family, etc)

Seriously, does every other writer logically plan out their articles, essays, short stories and books with their left brain? I simply cannot function like that. When an episode or opinion has popped into my brain, I did not consciously choose to write about that topic or person. It was an eureka moment, that surprised me. I wonder,

“Where did that thought or memory come from? I haven’t thought about him for years!”

Suddenly a story springs to mind.  I have assimilated emotions, reflections, connected quotes and philosophy  and integrated it all with my faith. Initially my right brain takes over, creativity flows like a river of words and I can hardly type fast enough to keep up.  The entire process is largely subconscious.  I unwittingly combine spirit  of creativity with a gift to craft words together.  Writers in past centuries called it the muse. Left logical  brain editing follows afterwards. However, if  I  attempt to write the first draft with my logical left brain, the article  is boring and painful to read.

Hoping that I am not alone in this approach to writing, I have unearthed some powerful and some outrageously funny quotes on the subject of writing:

I do not plan my fiction any more than I normally plan woodland walks; I follow the path that seems most promising at any given point, not some itinerary decided before entry.”
― John Fowles
“There are three secrets to writing a novel. Unfortunately nobody knows what they are.”
― W. Somerset Maugham
Writing became such a process of discovery that I couldn’t wait to get to work in the morning: I wanted to know what I was going to say. ~Sharon O’Brien”
is the overflow of emotion into action.”
So it seems that I am in good company. I must admit though,  I discovered that many other authors use an outline, plan and work hard at the chore of writing, yet  still managing  to create magic.  If you are the type of writer who must map out what you will write about that day, then please, write with an outline. My point is that when you begin writing, resist the temptation to imitate other writer’s style. Find your own voice. Write from your heart and soul. Write what you are passionate about and your enthusiasm and joy will open the door to  words which connect with your readers. In other words, you will begin the journey to become a great writer .

Atheists: Made in God’s Image?

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Pope Francis has been in office for just over 100 days. Nearly every day this charismatic man delights us with his actions and words, filling our hearts with hope, hope for the magisterium of the Church, hope for all Catholics but most of all hope for our modern world.

His very countenance radiates authenticity, kindness, joy and the love of God. This good will is not only lavished on the faithful but the poor, the outcasts and yes, even atheists. Just a couple of weeks ago, at daily Mass, Pope Francis casually remarked that  God has redeemed atheists,

“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! ‘Father, the atheists?’ Even the atheists. Everyone! And this Blood makes us children of God of the first class! We are created children in the likeness of God and the…

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