1) Do you have a favorite word?
2) When you’re asked #1, do you have to stop and ask, “Favorite word, as in how it sounds? Or favorite word, as in how it looks?” For example, “egregious” sounds awesome, but looks gross. “Glimmer” looks gorgeous, but is kind of blah in the ear.
3) Do you have a most-hated word? And can it change from year to year? For instance, I’m in a writing program right now, and the next person who says “trope” to me is taking a big risk.
4) Do you know, and even use, any of the nonsense words, like “brillig” or “snicker-snack,” from “Jabberwocky”?
6) When you come to a grammatically incorrect lyric, do you ever correct it as you sing? I mean, no one corrects “I can’t get no satisfaction,” but what about “I’m not willing to lay down and die, because I am an innocent man”?
8) Do you steal great lines from your favorite movies and use them in your own life? “Frankly, my dear,” you might say when someone points out there are 1,000 calories in that slice of cheesecake, “I don’t give a damn.”
9) Do you ever write down your wishes, as if that gives them reality and power? Do you sometimes refuse to speak your fears out loud? Do you have your own “He-who-must-not-be-named?”
10) Fill in your own Word Freak Truth here. Chances are, if you’re a Word Freak, you probably didn’t have to take this quiz to know it.
So how did you do?
If you answered “Yes” to five out of the ten questions, you’re probably a word-lover, at least.
Six or seven “Yes” answers, and you’re definitely a member of the club!
Eight or more? We’re best friends and just don’t know it yet!
So, come on…share your Number 10 with me!
What quirky thing do you do that proves you belong to this club? I can’t wait to hear!
This blog originally appeared in January. 2013. I’ve updated it at the end…
RELAX: NO SPOILERS IN THIS BLOG
On Sunday, January 6, season 3 of Downton Abbey premiered in the U.S. Many of you, like me, have been waiting months and months for it to resume. We’ve had to carefully avoid any spoilers from over the pond, where it was already showing, and we had to watch the first and second seasons again in preparation.
Some of you are wondering what all the fuss is about. That’s easy.
1. The Clothes
Lady Mary, Lady Edith, and Lady Sybil wear fabulous clothes.
2. The on-again-off-again love affair between Lady Mary and Matthew Crawley is riveting and often surprising. It doesn’t hurt that Dan Stevens, who plays our hero, is easy on the eyes.
3. The conflicts dealing with the servants below stairs are just as fascinating as those dealing with the gentry. In fact, sometimes they’re even more interesting. Love, hate, money, scandal, treachery, murder…that’s what makes Downton Abbey so popular.
Are you watching Downton Abbey? If not, why not? If so, what do you like about it? Warn us if you include any spoliers!
It breaks my heart to read that blog. Little did I know what awaited our dear Crawley family. So much tragedy. Guess what? Downton is starting again in September. September? What? Yes, it’s playing in the UK. Want to watch it when the Brits do? I found this information on how to watch Season 3 using Tunnel Bear. It’s only $4.99/month. Here’s the link with the info for Season 3. I’ll be watching Tunnel Bear for season 4.
In January, I read a book called The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin. It’s an account of how the author spent one year “test-driving” the theories and practices of happiness. Before starting her research, she’d had an epiphany: “The days are long, but the years are short.” She realized time was passing and she was not focusing enough on the things that really mattered to her.
The book resonated with me. As a writer, life is a constant juggling act. I’m always mindful of striving for balance between family and work. More often than I’d like to admit, life gets out of balance. The result: my family and I get very unhappy.
Enter The Happiness Project.
I loved Gretchen’s method: after analyzing what made her happy, what made her unhappy and what felt “right” and what could be a better fit, she identified twelve areas of her life that needed attention and devoted one month to exploring each in an effort to enrich her life and make her truly happy.
Among practical and profound tips for living a happier and more fulfilled life, the book also made me realize that all my New Year’s resolutions and goals didn’t necessarily have to be tackled at once. Why not break them down, assign them specific months in 2013? Why not look at it as my own personal Happiness Project? It seemed like a good way to make it easier to achieve my goals without feeling overwhelmed Also, I hoped to keep each ball in the air as I add others (after the previous goals had gained traction). As we prepare to enter the last third of 2013, I wanted to review what I’ve done so far and what I have left to tackle in the final third of the year.
Here’s what I’ve been working on:
1. January – Set office hours and guard them
I have definitely been more mindful of “reporting to work.” Because of that, I’ve been more productive this year. I’ve met my Special Edition goals and have been working on some other projects, too.
2. February – Limit social media time to make room for other things in life
This is a struggle for me. I can get *so* caught up in social media – especially FaceBook and Pinterest. I’ve had to really reign myself in. Sometimes I fall off the wagon, but I get right back on. Many of you know I’ve been MIA on FaceBook recently. I will continue to strictly limit my time until after I meet my October 1 deadline.
3. March – Learn to say, “No, thank you”
Another difficult task. However, I’ve started to look at time as currency and I’ve been on a pretty strict “budget.” This, along with maintaining my “office hours” had helped me be more productive.
4. April – Mental declutter: Let go of what weighs me down/doesn’t make me happy
This was one of the best things I’ve done for myself. However, I’m often plagued by “mind squirrels.” I use affirmations to keep the under control.
5. May – Refill the well: dedicate at least one hour once a week to art journaling
As much as I hate to admit it, this one had been hit and miss. I need to focus on it more. See, by revisiting these goals, I’m reminding myself what I need to work on.
6. June – Make more time for reading
This had been going well. I should’ve kept a list, and I think I’ll start. I want to concentrate more on the classics – one of my goals (not on this list, but on my actual list of 2013 goals was to read all of Jane Austen’s works this year. I’ve read three so far… I have some catching up to do. Right after I finish MY LIFE NEXT DOOR by Huntley Fitzpatrick. It’s one of the best books I’ve read all year.
7. July – Physical declutter part 1: tackling my closet
Just in time for RWA! I did go through my closet and try on EVERYTHING. I sent donated fifteen bags of things I no longer needed. Then, of course, I went out and purchased things for the RWA conference. Not fifteen bags worth, but I didn’t feel as guilty adding more to my closet.
8. August – Physical declutter part 2: tackling my office
This had been interesting. I’ve been deep in deadline since returning from the RWA conference. So, I’ve used the Fly Lady’s suggestion of throwing away or donating seven things every day. It’s a slow method, but I can see the progress. This task will probably stretch to the end of the year.
That’s it so far. I still have the following on the list:
9. September – Time to get healthy: yoga, water and vitamins
10. October – Continuing education
11. November – Gratitude
12. December – Take inventory and plan for the new year
I’ll check in toward the end of the year and report on my progress. In the meantime, have you revisited your 2013 goals? Or what would you like to accomplish between now and the end of the year? I have some books that I brought back from the conference to give to a couple of people who post.
Nancy’s book CELEBRATION’S BRIDE is available now. RT Book Reviews gave it a fabulous 4.5 star review, saying ” Thompson rocks the pages with her quirky cast. Her couples’ imperfections make them realistic and alluring….” I hope you’ll enjoy reading the book as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Since it’s almost Christmas, I wanted to share a holiday scene with you. This is from the second in my Sons of the Revolution series. Armand begins the book unable or unwilling to speak and unable to tolerate human touch. He has been imprisoned for 12 years and has forgotten what it means to be human. Felicity gently coaxes him back to life.
from The Making of a Gentleman
And now that he was at home at The Gardens, he really didn’t care about The Rules anymore. It was snowing outside, which wouldn’t normally deter him from his daily walk, but Felicity had cajoled him into sitting in the drawing room. She had a fire blazing in the hearth and his Christmas present—a black mongrel puppy—was dozing on the floor at his feet. She was at the pianoforte, playing a slow, dreamy song. He loved listening to her play. And now she could play for him anytime. All the time.
The clock chimed three times, and her hands stilled. He frowned. “It’s already three?” she said. “They’ll be here any moment, and I’m not finished with the wrapping.”
No one would care. He had told her this before, but it hadn’t seemed to make any difference. She wanted Christmas to be perfect.
“Do you hear that?” Now she was up and racing to one of the windows. “Those are the horses’ bells. Yes! They’re here! Come on.”
He would have preferred to sit where he was, but she grabbed his hand and pulled him to the door. Before their butler could do his duty, she had it open and was out in the snow, welcoming Julien, Sarah, and his mother. There were words and hugs and kisses, which Armand tolerated because he could see how happy it made Felicity to have family around her. She told him she wanted a large family, and when he realized what that entailed, he was happy to oblige her.
Sarah was noticeably with child now, and he wondered how Felicity would look, her belly round with his son or daughter.
A few moments later, they were all inside, and Felicity had the housekeeper pass out warm cider and chocolate. Julien insisted Sarah lie down in her room, and his mother went to settle her in. When it was just the three of them and the dog, Felicity sat at the pianoforte again, playing quietly, and Julien stood at the large hearth. Armand went to Felicity, put his hand on her shoulder.
Felicity covered it with her own. “I can’t think of anything better than having your whole family together again.”
“Neither can I—”
“Julien, I am not going to lie down all afternoon. I’m not tired.” Sarah’s voice floated in the hallway, and Julien scowled.
“That woman refuses to rest. I didn’t even want her coming all this way in the carriage. It jostles her. I’ll be right back.” A moment later, Armand could hear the couple arguing, Julien firm and Sarah just as stubborn.
Felicity stood. “Perhaps next Christmas your brother Bastien will be here, as well.”
He put his arm around her, drew her close. She sighed contentedly, and together they stared into the crackling fire in the hearth. At one time fire had represented destruction, his life in ashes. Now, with Felicity beside him, he welcomed the warmth. He looked at his wife bathed in the soft glow of the firelight. With a smile, she kissed him. “I love you,” she whispered.
“I love you.” And he finally knew all that the word meant.