This isn’t just an Instagram aesthetic. It’s actually really good advice for us. If you’re unfamiliar with self-care, it is the simple act of caring for ourselves. We deserve it, not because it makes us better for others or for our lecturers or for our flatmates, but because it makes us healthier for ourselves. […]
Tag Archives: fun
by Lillian Csernica on December 15, 2016
1) Thou shalt slow down. We’re all in a hurry. It’s that time of year. If we can “proceed in a calm, orderly fashion” the way we’re directed to do during emergencies, then maybe we can avoid the kind of emergency that will ruin everybody’s day. Yes, I mean traffic. I also mean elevators, escalators, check out lines, and any other point where the crowd tends to hit a bottle neck.
2)Thou shalt hurry up. This means have your ticket ready when you exit the parking garage. This means get off your cell phone and stop blocking the aisle. This means know what you want to order by the time you get to the head of the fast food line.
3)Thou shalt have mercy on servers, salespeople, and other customer service representatives unless and until they demonstrate deliberate rudeness. Once that happens, demand to see the supervisor or manager. Take the time to make sure those rude people get busted for their bad behavior. You deserve polite service.
4)Thou shalt give no gifts that require labor or maintenance unless by prior explicit agreement. This means any living creature in the pet category, any plant growing in a container, anything from any DIY category on Pinterest, and especially any of those “In A Jar” projects.
5) Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s parking space. This goes double for the handicapped slots. Just because you can’t see why a person has a handicapped placard or special license plate, that doesn’t mean he or she doesn’t have a disability that qualifies.
6) Thou shalt contain thy children. This includes both physical movement and volume control.
7)Thou shalt prepare, taste, and evaluate any new recipes before inflicting them on innocent and unsuspecting family and/or guests. Have you ever wondered why the women’s magazines bring out all those bizarre recipes for the holiday season? If those food items are so delightful, why aren’t people making them anymore?
8) Thou shalt keep thy receipts. Big stores like Toys R Us and Macy’s are pretty good about “gift receipts,” making returns possible without the person knowing exactly how much you spent on the gift.
9) Thou shalt not put up so many Christmas lights, inflatable snowmen, animatronic reindeer, etc. etc. that you create a traffic hazard by either distracting drivers, blinding them, or both.
10)Thou shalt cover thy nose or mouth in the event of a sneeze or cough. Come on, people. Do the elbow thing. Do NOT use your hands, because you will then spread whatever germs didn’t already escape into the air.
11)Thou shalt send actual written thank you notes. I know, this must sound unbearably old-fashioned in the Digital Age, but it’s the right thing to do. My sons send written thank you notes, and everybody knows Michael and John both need some help to do that. People are surprised and very pleased. Word gets all the way back to my mother, who sat me down and made me write thank you notes as soon as I had learned how to write.
12)Thou shalt give thyself permission to stop trying to make everybody happy all at once, especially when that means losing sight of making thyself happy too. Figure out what really makes you happy, be it baking cookies or driving around looking at Christmas lights or going to church or playing silly board games with your friends. Do those things. Give yourself the gift of “Peace on earth, goodwill toward Man.”
by Lillian Csernica on November 6, 2016
I’m sitting here yawning. Yesterday I left the house at 11:30 a.m. and didn’t get home until around 10 p.m. That means ten and a half hours. I spent three of those hours driving.
When I finally staggered up the stairway to my office and dropped my bags, I realized I had 90 minutes to get the day’s NaNoWriMo quota done. At midnight, that’s it. You’ve either written that day or you haven’t.
You know how your car engine sounds when you turn the key and the engine tries to turn over, but it just won’t catch? Yeah. That’s the sound my brain was making.
I was a bit ahead of the minimum total word count for Day 5, so I was strongly tempted to just let it ride for one day. No no no. I’d signed up for NaNoWriMo, so I’d made the commitment to write every single day in November. Every. Single. Day.
I did cut myself some slack. Make it to the ten thousand word mark, I told myself. Write that much, and you’re off the hook. That meant three pages, or 750 words.
Great. Now what? <sound of car engine failing to turn over>
At times like this I brainstorm. I write down every horrible thing that I could possibly do to my characters. It doesn’t have to make sense, really, it just has to be possible within the story content already established. If all goes well, inspiration will strike, the engine of my imagination will turn over, and the writing flows.
Want some specific examples of how I torture my characters and get the day’s writing done? I’m happy to share.
by Lillian Csernica on October 12, 2016
Back in 2014, I won NaNoWriMo by writing 50,000 words of Garden of Lies, the second book in my Flower Maiden trilogy.
I have just signed up for NaNoWriMo 2016. I hope to get to the 50,000 word mark on the third book of the trilogy. 7 pages a day, every day.
I thumb my nose at the Forces of Chaos that beset me on a daily basis. Come what may, I shall write my daily quota. By December 1, I will have at least half of the first draft of my new novel.
(Then comes the Labor of Hercules known as Editing the Manuscript, but I’ll get to that when the time comes.)
I send my best wishes to everybody else
crazy dedicated enough to embrace NaNoWriMo!
by Lillian Csernica on October 6, 2016
I had a wonderful time! As always, I was sharing a room with my usual traveling companion and parter in crime, Patricia H. MacEwen. There was a lot to see and do, between the panels and BoFs and the evening events and the hands-on workshops. Big kudos to Con Chair Jason and his Mighty Minions! (My apologies for not getting these links put in sooner. Last week included five appointments, two meetings, plus all the usual chaos.)
I’m very happy to have been appointed moderator for this panel. I had to catch up on some background reading, which brought to my attention just how prolific Shirley Jackson really was. As primary breadwinner for the family, she had to keep the work going out and the money coming in. At the same time she had to shoulder the load expected of a ’50s housewife. All four children were her responsibility, along with every household chore. What an inspiration!
This panel brought me the best of both worlds. I got to participate, drawing on my fascination with Japanese culture. Then I had the pleasure of listening to my fellow panelists and learn from their amazing expertise. Wanda Kurtcu made an excellent moderator, keeping us all in line when the synergy of ideas got too rowdy!
The diversity of panelists made for a variety of perspectives on this topic. We were happy to welcome Garrett Calcaterra to his very first con! He got thrown in at the deep end, and he acquitted himself very well. Keep an eye out for his YA fantasy series, The Dreamwielder Chronicles. The first two books are available now!
I managed to catch the last thirty minutes. Lively and intelligent discussion of our favorite characters. Debates about their true motivations and upcoming loyalties or desertions. Much love for the Christmas lights as a communications device! Many thanks to Mark Gelineau, our host and moderator.
It’s not often I have time at cons to go indulge myself in a programming event just for fun. Trish Henry displayed her amazing skills at paper sculpture by walking us through the basics of making a pop-up card. We started with a heart. From there people made butterflies, a dragon, even a house! Trish provided plenty of colored paper, glitter pens, other decorative supplies, and chocolate eyeballs! Does it get any better than that?
Minions #1, #2, and #3 provided simple, hearty fare that was ready and waiting no matter what time I wandered in. Chili over potatoes both baked and quartered, veggie pasta with an excellent sauce, and much to my utter screaming delight, my absolute favorite: homemade biscuits with sausage gravy. Snack baggies held a choice of popcorn, M&Ms, and even wasabi peas!
The Party Floor!
When I first got off the elevators on my way to my hotel room, I all but walked into a sign that proclaimed the hotel’s policy of keeping things quiet between nine p.m. and seven a.m. That made me burst out laughing. I was on Three, where the Quiet Zone started. The Party Floor was on Two, and it was crowded! Walking the big circle brought me to a new sign every three or four doors, heralding another party with another theme. On Friday night I spent most of the evening hanging out in Kevin and Andy’s ’60s themed bash. On Saturday night the ConJose party was the place to be. Gorgeous lighting effects, lots of comfy furniture, and some salted dark chocolate caramels that were divine!
by Lillian Csernica on July 16, 2016
People talk a lot about the importance of nutrition, exercise, supplements, fiber, getting enough sunshine and drinking enough water. All of that is certainly crucial to physical health.
I believe there is another “nutrient” that is essential to the health and well-being of both mind and body.
Given all the terrible events that keep appearing in the news, we’ve got to do something to counteract the weight of grief, anger, depression and loss. Does it seem frivolous to talk about the importance of having fun when the world is awash in tragedy?
Damn right it’s frivolous. That’s the whole point. For those of us who live with depression, there are times when it is critical for us to engage in some activity that will help lighten our loads. Even if you don’t have clinical depression and/or an anxiety disorder, you too can protect your well-being by making sure you build “having fun” into your healthy lifestyle.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy” is not just some excuse to blow off our responsibilities. Have a look at this infographic:
Still don’t believe me? Think we just need to buckle down and make serious contributions to our own lives and the lives of others? Fine, but don’t take that too far. The results can be horrifying:
I don’t know about you, but I find those facts and figures really disturbing. Bad enough 16 million children in the United States aren’t getting enough healthy, nutritious food every day. How can we possibly get our world into the shape we hope and pray for when such fundamentals as food and good old-fashioned playtime aren’t available?
Let’s be the change we want to see in the world. We’ll work on the serious issues, of course we will. In the process, let’s make the time to have some FUN.
Today I blew off two important social engagements that would have taken a toll on me physically and emotionally. Instead, I grabbed my son John by the hand and we ran away from home to go see “Ghostbusters” in 3D.
Charity really does begin at home. Give yourself permission to have fun.
by Lillian Csernica on January 11, 2016
One of the most common pieces of editing advice is to read your manuscript out loud. Hearing the narrative and the dialogue outside of your own mind will show you wear it’s rough or awkward.
The reverse of this technique is to improvise a scene by acting out the dialogue (and the narrative as well, if you like) in one or more character voices. If sitting there staring at the blank page is inhibiting your flow of inspiration, get up and start moving around while you tell the story aloud. It helps to have a recording device or a program such as Dragonspeak to capture all those off the cuff gems.
Writers often talk to themselves. I do it when I’m grocery shopping, debating the selection of various items on my list. I also do it when I’m watching TV by myself. A few days ago this led to the beginning of my latest short story.
So there I was, watching another one of those movies where the team of paranormal investigators seriously regrets hanging out in the haunted insane asylum overnight. Me, I’d call this a bad idea on paper, never mind actually going inside the building.
It got to the point where I started yelling advice and criticism at the actors. Having watched far too many of these movies, I can tell from the music and the timing when the next Scary Thing is about to happen.
I was sitting there, being sarcastic at the characters onscreen, when it suddenly hit me: This is great dialogue. A few minutes’ thought gave me the basics I needed to set up a team of wannabe ghost hunters talking to an older relative of one of them who had some actual experience with the paranormal. The older relative tries to make the kids see how little they really know about the risks involved in stirring up paranormal entities.
Does it stop them? It does not.
I’m having a lot of fun shaping the main character by using all of my own objections, all of my knowledge of folklore and superstitions, and what little experience I do have with the paranormal. A few of my most successful stories have come from using my own voice for a character that I design to suit the needs of the story. I’m thinking of “Fallen Idol,” “Music Lover,” and “The Family Spirit” in particular.
Humor in paranormal writing is a happy thing. Humor in most writing is a happy thing.
Do you find reading your work aloud helps the editing process? Does acting out a scene just make you feel silly? Let me know what works for you.
BONUS: Since my new short story will fit the horror genre, the first three people to respond in the Comments section will receive a copy of my ebook The Fright Factory: Building Better Horror.
by Lillian Csernica on May 3, 2015
Time now to look back on the 26 days of reading, writing, thinking and replying. I’d like to begin by saying thank you to everyone who stopped by my blog. A special thank you to the folks who hung out with me, added their observations, and made the whole adventure that much more enjoyable:
Jazzfeathers at The Old Shelter
Sue Archer at Doorway Between Worlds
Lori MacLaughlin at Writing, Reading, and the Pursuit of Dreams
Pat MacEwen at Bone Speak
Sanch at Living My Imperfect Life
1) A crazy topic. I suppose I could call this “a unique theme.” I had no idea so many people out there enjoy bad sword & sorcery movies as much as I do. Now we know about each other, so we can form a support group. LOL
2) Good graphics. Some of the movies I chose were rather obscure, which made finding graphics for them more difficult. That in turn made such content more valuable. Some of those costumes really have to be seen to be believed!
3) Replying to all comments, even if I just hit “Like” now and then. Give and take is what it’s all about during the A to Z. It’s just plain polite, of course, but running around seeing what my new friends were creating made this experience organic and exciting.
4) Links. Good links, informative links, links that lead somewhere worth the click time!
What Didn’t Work:
1) Not getting enough posts written and scheduled ahead of time. I started off with a week’s worth of posts ready to go. That kept my head above water until around mid-month when my other writing commitments began pushing the blog posts down the priority list.
2) I couldn’t do justice to these movies in really short posts, so it would have been wiser to plan ahead and budget my time accordingly. The real pleasure for me in talking about these movies comes from the behind the scenes trivia, the little details about special effects snafus, and the consistency errors.
3) Finding the graphics. This is a two-edged sword, har har. It sucked up a lot of time, hunting down the graphics, finding the right sizes, and tinkering with the posts until the layout looked just the way I wanted it to be.
4) Toward the end of the month time got tighter and tighter, so I did not make it as far down the list of participants as I’d hoped to go. The flip side of that was the problem with several of the links I did visit in the lower 1/4 of the list. Often the links didn’t lead anywhere, or the blogs hadn’t been updated in ages. That put a dent in my enthusiasm.
I know people are posting their stats and measuring the traffic on their sites. I respect that, and I pay attention to those numbers when I’m thinking in terms of business and self-promotion. The A to Z Blog Challenge is something I do for fun. Last year my theme was chocolate. This year, bad sword & sorcery movies. I’ve made some new friends, found some great resources, and I reached my goal of completing the challenge.
Thank you to Arlee and Alex and all the folks who helped out in the A to Z. I’ll be back again next year!
by Lillian Csernica on April 24, 2014
Yes, this one might seem obvious, but just wait. First I must share with you this lovely example of the baker’s art:
If you’re looking for something simpler, perhaps in the party favor line, here’s a little cutie:
But wait! There’s more! Apparently somebody has invented this silly game called “Chocolate Unicorn” where people do their best to stack six chocolate snack cakes on their foreheads within one minute and keep them there! That’s the tricky part.
There must be more chocolate games out there. Come on, tell me what you’re up to! You have a “Buffy” marathon and every time Xander does something stupid and dangerous, you have to slam a handful of M&Ms! It’s “Firefly” night for the Browncoats and they’re slamming Dove bites every time somebody swears in Cantonese! I know you’re doing things like this! You can’t fool me!