Happy Thanksgiving, dear pond readers! Thank you for stopping by the pond today and every day you do. I hope you and yours are taking it easy today, happily enjoying delicious food in the company of fabulous people, and counting your blessings. Happy Thanksgiving to all and to all a delightful rest of the year.
A few weeks ago I read an inspiring article about progress being made in the fight against white nose syndrome afflicting bats. You can read the article here and I highly encourage you to do so because it is pretty darn cool. Nothing comes from nothing. If you want scientific research to figure things out, you need to encourage researchers who do research and then reward their creativity. To me, that article exemplifies the principle that the more science is done, the more questions are asked, the more answers are uncovered, the more opportunities there are for applications to be found for seemingly disparate things that can make all the difference in critical issues. You never know where the answer you’re looking for might come from. A rich culture of diverse research helps ensure that there will be answers when we need them. Clearly, that article isn’t saying that the fight against white nose syndrome is over, it continues, but it is sure going to be a lot better for a lot of bats now thanks to some good science.
Last week, somebody sent me this beautiful link to the Oatmeal and it brought me to tears, in a good way. I kind of want to send it on to everyone in the world, so I am starting with my pond and all you wonderful readers. Sometimes it is really hard to remember the helpers in the world. Weeks like last week filled with terrible things make it especially difficult, but those are the times when we most need to not only look for the helpers but stand up and help too rather than give in to fear. We’re all just falling in the sky, we need to help hold each other up while we can. And watch Star Trek. That’s helpful, too.
This week, I read this inspiring article about MS research into Myelin repair. Reading it gave me goosebumps. Right now, my MS isn’t troubling me too too much. I get by pretty darn well most of the time. But, the day will likely come when that stops being true. That day is not this day, though, and, thanks to the National MS Society supporting researchers like Dr. Salzer, for all I know when my body stops keeping pace with repairing my MS, I’ll be able to get some kind of myelin repair therapy that will help keep me mobile. That is really flipping cool. Thanks, dear pond readers, for supporting me and my fundraising earlier this year for team Nerds for A Cure for Walk MS. I was one of the top 100 individual fundraisers in my state, number 68 specifically, thanks to the support of everyone, near and far. Next year, we’ll see if I can crack the top 50 and together we will feed the researchers doing the research that gets the world closer to a cure. Who knows? Maybe the cure or the dream treatment will come as a result of research into bats or frogs or some plant or fungus or parasite I have never heard of before it turns out to be a life-safer. That’s the thing about science and the thing about this beautiful world, it is all connected.
Finally, on this Friday night I leave you with this incredibly cute GIF because everyone needs more cute in their lives. Thanks for stopping by, dear pond readers.
So, in keeping my promise from my Raffle for a Cure post, I have posted a video of me drawing names from the bowl of destiny for the categories that had multiple entries. Making this video proved to be more time consuming and complicated than I would have suspected so props to all those who do these sorts of things on a regular basis. I doubt that I will make a regular thing of making movies but you never know. Thank you all again for your support with my fundraising and thanks for stopping by the pond!
I frequently joke about spirit animals. The animal in question varies with the needs of the moment and I often find it helpful to visualize the persistence of a snail crawling over a rock, the stoic grace of a tortoise, the I-do-not-even-care attitude of a skunk moseying along its way, depending on my mood. When it comes to writing, I have decided to claim the Brown Capuchin monkey as my spirit animal. This remarkable monkey has the foresight and tool use acumen to keep harvesting palm nuts, prepping them, toasting them in the sun, and cracking them open over days of work. When I saw this documentary talking about this incredible monkey I thought, “Eureka! This must be my writing spirit animal!” I also thought it was rather cute. But still, cuteness notwithstanding, I am dang impressed with how this monkey literally always has another nut toasting in the sun while it is prepping the nut after that one. I wish I could say the same about my writing. Writing is an incredibly time consuming process for me. I also tend to fixate on a story and just keep polishing it and polishing it to the exclusion of all else. That is not a winning strategy if one is to make a go of being a writer any more than obsessively preparing only one nut would be a successful strategy for a monkey. I have notes and notes and outlines for my main WIP based on my flash fiction, Cinderella’s Ghost, that I have been plugging away at pretty steadily. This is is great but, that WIP is a long term project and if I want to be a good monkey…er…writer, I need to get another nut toasting pronto. So, in the spirit of the brown capuchin monkey, I set myself the challenge that I would finish a brand new piece of short fiction this fall. Not a re-polish of something else, no writing prompt involved, just me, my journal, and my fountain pen. By gum I did it. I finished a first draft at the end of August. The 22 pages of fountain pen scrawl turned into 28 pages of double-spaced 12 point manuscript at ~7100 words. I call that a pretty respectable first draft. Now, I’m chipping away at the second draft, trying to stick that ending. Pesky endings, always slippery things. But, I don’t want to lose my momentum. I believe that I will attempt one or both of the following challenges: Almost an Inkling Creative Writing Contest courtesy of the splendid Jubilare and/or The First Line Literary Journal’s Winter prompt. Anybody with me, dear pond readers? After all, it doesn’t have to be November to get some social writing spirit going. Thanks for stopping by the pond today. May your ink and your ideas flow freely!
Hello, dear pond readers! I am doing something new in my pond in an effort to save my brain from multiple sclerosis. I was diagnosed in 2013 and I’ve written about it a little bit in another post, if you want to check that out. I am doing a raffle of handcrafted items to raise money for Walk MS-Waukesha to benefit the Wisconsin chapter of the National MS society.
Here are the directions: look through the items pictured below and decide for which of the twelve prize option(s) you would like to buy a virtual raffle ticket. UPDATE: All raffle tickets are now $2 per entry! You still have to specify which drawing(s) you want to put your donation toward by copying the comment text with each option, but there is no longer variation in price. If you already donated, fantastic, you just get more entries per prize option drawing than you initially thought you would. Also, I will always round up so if you donated an odd sort of number I will round up the number of entries you have. To buy a raffle ticket, go to my personal fundraising page, hit “Donate to Me,” donate in the ticket increment you want, fill out your full contact information, and, in the comment section, copy the text that corresponds to the desired item option(s) below. Your information is confidential, will not be sold, and will not be used for any nefarious purpose. Your full contact information of at least a name and an e-mail address is needed to contact you in the event that you win and so I can mail any item(s) you won. If you want to opt out of being contacted by the National MS society, there is a way for you to do that when you donate. I won’t contact you either beyond one thank-you-for-being-amazing note. All donations are tax-deductible in the United States. I have no idea if they are tax-deductible in other countries but you will get the same warm, fuzzy feeling of being amazing no matter what nation you hale from, if you donate to my fundraising.
My plan is to print out little squares of paper donation entries based on the donations, put them in a zippy bag for each prize option, and then, the day after the walk on September 21st, film a drawing of names and post that video here on the pond. Winners will be e-mailed and shipment arranged after the drawing. I will mail items at my own cost in the most economic fashion, which will probably be USPS first class, but, we’ll see, this is all new to me. People can definitely have their names in more than once for each raffle option and have their names in for multiple options but, your donation has to add up to that many virtual raffle tickets and you have to have the comment text for each option you want to have a chance at winning.
For example: Jane Smith really likes the pincushions, the Star Trek scarf, and the reading quillow. Jane wants at least two tickets for each option. When Jane donates, being sure to include her e-mail address, email@example.com, she donates $35 (35/2 =17.5, ~18, 18/3=6 entries per drawing!) and copies all three lines of comment text, so her comment box says: I am a Technicolorlilypond SEWIST nerd for a cure! I am a Technicolorlilypond READING nerd for a cure! I am a Technicolorlilypond STAR TREK nerd for a cure! And, just like that, she has paid for six entries in each of those three prize option categories and she will have the satisfaction of knowing that she has made a tax-deductible donation to help rid the world of multiple sclerosis. On the day of the drawing, Jane’s name will be in each pool six times, increasing her odds of being the lucky person to receive the nerdy item in the post. See how amazing that is? Together, all of this will add up to making the world a better place for lot of people who are really hoping that people like you will help fund scientific research into curing them of multiple sclerosis. That is some pretty amazing stuff.
Time for prize option pictures! As you can see, some options have multiple items whereas others have one. The way I envision this is that as an example, for the pincushion raffle there are four pincushions that you can potentially win. I will have one pool of pincushion entries and will draw names from the pool four times, once for each pincushion. I hope that that makes sense. I know that that means you might not win the exact item you want but, hopefully you know somebody in your life who would like that item and you’ll be ahead on your unbirthday shopping.
Raffle prize option #1: Wristlet style Phone case with E.A. Schneider photo-print! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond PHOTOGRAPHER nerd for a cure!
Raffle prize option #2: Pincushions! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond SEWIST nerd for a cure!
Raffle prize option #3: Dice Bags of Holding! With actual dice! Dice not pictured but two gaming dice come with each bag. Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond GAMER nerd for a cure!
Raffle prize option #4: Doctor Who Pillow! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond DOCTOR WHO nerd for a cure!
Raffle prize option #5: Wildlife pillow! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond WILDLIFE nerd for a cure!
Raffle prize option #6: Star Trek fleece scarf! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond STAR TREK nerd for a cure!
Raffle prize option #7: Star Wars fleece scarf! This scarf glows in the dark. Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond STAR WARS nerd for a cure!
Raffle prize option #8: Doctor Who fleece scarf! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond WHOVIAN nerd for a cure!
Raffle prize option #9: Reading Quillow! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond READING nerd for a cure!
Raffle option #10: Woodcraft Bangle Bracelet! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond JEWELRY nerd for a cure!
Raffle option #11: Bottle Openers! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond SPIRITS nerd for a cure!
Raffle option #12: Kitchen Accessories! Raffle ticket cost is $2 per entry
Comment text to copy: I am a Technicolorlilypond COOKING nerd for a cure!
You may start donating and get your name in the pool today. All donations that include the comment text from this blog post will be eligible for the raffle drawing until 12 PM CT on Monday September 21st, 2015. On the 21st, I will film myself drawing the names, post the video, contact the winners, and thank everyone who donated. If you do choose to donate, please leave a comment below. Thank you all for spreading the word to your friends. Should you have any questions about any of the options or the Walk, please leave the question below and I’ll do my best to answer. Thank you, dear readers, for reading all of this. Your readership and support mean so much to me.
Let no one tell you, dear pond readers, that writing is not an endurance activity. In the past 48 hours I have emptied three fountain pens worth of ink writing 36 pages of text, filling my favorite journal in the process. I have an angry red callus and a persistent dent in my index finger, which I incidentally cannot feel, from writing as fast as I could. I have had ideas for two new projects rocketing around in my head for the last few weeks and I have finally been able to put pen to paper on them. One idea is well sketched while the other has 26 pages of bona fide hand written text to transcribe to computer. Phew! I feel shockingly productive. I credit finding out that one of my stories is under final consideration for publication as a major motivating factor in getting some inspiration energy activated. My mom always said that an artist is only as good as their next success so I feel that if my next success is in fact potentially imminent, I had better get my rear in gear on the one after that as soon as possible. We’ll see if my life cooperates in this attempt and whether I can keep laying out ink on these projects. How are you doing on your WIPs, dear pond readers? Are you struggling to keep up? Are you digging deep to get started? Feel free to leave a comment below and thanks for stopping by the pond!