Wednesday, November 28, 2012

NaNoWriMo/ROW 80 Update

Fifty thousand words in thirty days? 1,667 words a day. Piece of cake, right?

It seemed like such a good idea on November first. But as of 9:00PM on Wednesday, November twenty-eighth, I'm at 38,627 words. Which means I have another 11,373 words to complete before midnight on Friday.


I know I can do it. I wrote over four thousand words on Monday and dashed off an astonishing 5,314 words yesterday. That was a new record for me.

But it won't be easy. And the truth is I was so far behind by Thanksgiving that if I hadn't already purchased my Winner's T-Shirt (isn't it beautiful?) I would have probably dropped the ball completely. So I am glad I have the extra incentive to make the push. Because I have learned a lot about myself as a writer the past several days. I have figured out how to silence my inner critic and draft without editing. As a result, I have discovered that I am capable of writing two or three times faster than I thought possible. Granted, some of those words won't survive revision. But many of them will.

And there have been some crazy surprises along the way. One of my main characters just turned up dead--really!--and while I began writing from the point of view of a sixteen-year old girl, today I switched to the point of view of her best friend's mother. I'm not sure which I will choose for the final draft, whether this book will end up young adult or women's fiction. But NaNoWriMo gave me a thirty-day pass to experiment with a new genre and writing style, and I feel so much richer because of it.

I am in desperate need of a cut and color, my laundry basket is overflowing, I haven't been out for a run in almost a week, and I heard through the grapevine that Christmas is coming. I'll get around to all of that on December first.

But right now I have a novel to finish.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pendants from Grandmother's Button Box

My blog post about using buttons from my grandmother's button box was inspired by a Facebook friend who sent me the following message:

Do you make any jewelry with buttons? If so, could I commission you to make six sets of something with a button collection I've had since childhood?

I accepted the challenge. Since my friend wasn't sure that all of her sisters have pierced ears, she requested necklaces. Inspired by this tutorial, I came up with the prototype below, using shell buttons from my grandmother's collection.

Close-up. The crystals on the sides are from a broken necklace that belonged to my grandmother.
Finally, I was ready to begin work on my commission. Here are five of the six button clusters I created, using wooden beads and copper findings in addition to the buttons. Since my Facebook friend also reads this blog, I am omitting the picture of her necklace, which incorporates Swarovski crystals along with the buttons and copper findings.

Although I love them all, this necklace is my personal favorite of the five.

Now that I know what to do and how to do it, I think I will offer these on my Etsy site as a commissioned item for anyone who wants it. Do you have a button collection you would like to share in a special way with family or friends? Email me or convo me on Etsy and let me help you!

* * *

ROW 80 update: Now that all my special order jewelry has been shipped I can spend more time on my NaNoWriMo project. I am definitely behind on my word count goal but I crossed the 20K mark late last night. Three thousand words a day between now and the end of November will put me in the winner's circle. Here I go! 

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Choosing Joy

The choice to adopt a moment by moment attitude of gratitude is the choice that differentiates those who suffer the slings and arrows of misfortune and those who are blessed with a joyous and abundant life.
~ Leslie Fieger

Rock Star. October 28, 2005.
It seems like only yesterday that I was adamantly not making any New Year's resolutions, and now Thanksgiving is upon us. Many of my Facebook friends have making daily posts of gratitude; most of the bloggers I know are sharing their gratitude lists this week. Yet I have been sitting here with my laptop open for more than an hour, sifting through old photos and scratching my head, unable to begin.

It's not that I don't feel thankful overall; my Happiness Jar is overflowing. The past few days, though, it's been tough to maintain perspective. I am struggling financially, the kids are bickering and unhappy, I am perpetually exhausted and overworked, I have zero romantic prospects, and there is no end in sight for any of it.

But as stressful and challenging as this time is, there is also a bright side. The boys and I are healthy; we have a roof over our heads and food to eat and clothes to wear and many creature comforts. I get to make music and satisfy other creative urges, artistic and literary, on a daily basis; and I have family and friends who love me.

That is quite a list. Fear or courage? Anxiety or confidence? Despair or hope? Loneliness or love? It seems just plain wrong to bow down to the dark gods of fear, anxiety, despair and loneliness.

I choose joy. May you have a joyous and abundant Thanksgiving.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Liam, Joseph and Philip

As you might recall, my piano student Liam Butler-Lawrence was invited to the stage at the Whisperings Solo Piano Concert a couple of weeks ago. Here is a video of his performance. 

Would you like to see a little bit more of the concert? Here is Joseph Akins playing a medley of two of my personal favorites, Feeling Joy and In the Country.

And finally, here is Philip Wesley with Light and Shadow.

Thanks to Sam Bennett of Piano Works in Duluth for making these great recordings and sharing them with the world. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Meaití Jó Shéamuis Ó Fátharta

Regret for the things we did can be tempered by time; it is regret for the things we did not do that is inconsolable.
~ Sydney J. Harris

Pam Asberry and Meaití Jó Shéamuis Ó Fátharta
On the heels of two days of selling my handmade jewelry at the craft show last weekend, all I really wanted to do Saturday evening was go home, change into my jammies, and crawl into bed with a glass of wine. But I had promised my friend Julia that I would attend her house concert Saturday night, so I did. As is always the case, I was so thankful I made the effort.

The featured artist was acclaimed Sean nós singer, Uilleann piper and flutist from Connemara, County Galway, Ireland, Meaití Jó Shéamuis Ó Fátharta, also known as "Mattie." He shared all of his gifts with us. And in between songs and musical sets, he educated us about the history, culture and music of his beloved Ireland. If I hadn’t already wanted to visit, I would have after spending an evening with Mattie.


My favorite performance came at the very end of the program, when Mattie invited my piano student Liam to be his accompanist on his final set on the Uilleann pipes.

At intermission, I bought a copy of Mattie’s CD Bóithríní an Locháin (click HERE for more info) so I can listen to his beautiful music anytime, anywhere. If you love Irish music or would like to get a taste of it you can’t go wrong with this one.

Thanks to Julia, Liam and Mattie for letting me be a part of a magical Saturday night that otherwise would have been completely forgotten.

I’ll sleep when I’m dead.
~ Warren Zevon

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Bloom Market

Today I'm selling my handmade jewelry at Bloom Market in downtown Buford, Georgia. Click HERE to read about each of the other twenty-three vendors and her wares; better yet, stop by and pay us a visit! 

554 West Main Street 
Buford, Georgia 30518
Hours: 10-4

I look forward to seeing you there!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

These Shoes Were Made for Voting

They got me where I needed to go.
It's been a crazy month so far. I'm teaching full time, beading a few last-minute items for Bloom Market this weekend, and attempting to restore some sense of order to my busy home in preparation for the holidays--all while trying to keep up my daily word count for NaNoWriMo. As of Sunday night, I was right on track.

But Monday I managed to eke out only about two hundred words; yesterday, I didn't write at all. But I did vote--and it took longer than it might have. Although I only had to wait in line for about thirty minutes, since Rock Star has been using my car to get to and from work every day, I had no transportation other than my own two feet. I almost talked myself out of going. But then I thought about all the people in the world who would give up a lot more than a couple of hours of their time and a few hundred calories for the right to vote. So I put on my running shoes, bundled myself up against the cold, grabbed an umbrella, and walked two miles to the polling place. The muddy shoulder between my subdivision and my destination and the stoplight at the big intersection there were my biggest challenges. But I made it. I cast my ballot, got my sticker, and made it home in plenty of time for my first piano student at two o'clock. By the time I finished my day at eight-thirty, I was too tired to do anything but join the rest of the country in watching the election results. But it was a good kind of tired.

I made my best effort to catch up this morning but had to stop with only 884 words to show for my morning's work. The good news is I'm at 7,777 words, with 42,223 remaining towards my end-of-month goal. However, I already I know I won't be able to write at all on Saturday, November 10th or on Thanksgiving Day. So my revised daily word count goal is 2,011 words. I will succeed!

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Shop Local, Shop Handmade

Lampwork Glass Stocking Earrings
I just added twenty pairs of holiday earrings to my Etsy store. Whether you're looking for a gift for someone special or a new addition to your own jewelry wardrobe, I hope you will pay my online shop a visit!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Joseph Akins/Philip Wesley Live In Concert

l-r: Joseph Akins, Liam, Pam Asberry, Philip Wesley
Saturday night I had the privilege of hearing two of my favorite Whisperings Solo Piano Radio artists, Joseph Akins and Philip Wesley, perform at Piano Works in Duluth, Georgia.

Philip Wesley
Joseph Akins
Each artist played four original compositions on the beautiful Bosendorfer concert grand piano in during the first half of the show. Then, right after intermission, there was a surprise performance by one of my very own piano students, Liam. He did an outstanding job. I couldn't have been more proud!

It is a Whisperings tradition for the artists to conclude an evening of solo piano music with a joint improvisation. Joseph and Philip did not disappoint. They started out slow and easy

but ended up wild and crazy.

Notice the shades!
These talented and personable musicians hung around after the show to chat and autograph sheet music and CD's. I love listening to this type of music when I write as well as playing the sheet music myself. But there is nothing like hearing it played live by the composers on a concert grand piano. I hope you will visit these artists' websites and consider adding some of their CD's and/or sheet music to your own collections and getting on their mailing lists to find out about upcoming concerts in your own area. Or visit Whisperings Solo Piano Radio on the internet to sample music by them and others. It's available twenty-four hours a day and it's FREE!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

NaNoWriMo, Day One

Our local NaNoWriMo kickoff party was a huge success! Most of my writer pals showed up in costume. Although I was the only one wearing a tutu

but I was not the only witch on the premises. 

We feasted on pulled pork sliders prepared by our host, Mike

along with an assortment chips, dips, desserts and other goodies provided by everyone else in attendance.

Tony and Alex
It was like New Year's Eve. We thought midnight would never arrive. But finally it did!

Our fearless leader, Shawn
Thirty minutes flew by, but everyone had already completed at least five hundred words. Forty-five minutes later, although I was too tired to to do anything besides make the long drive home, I was well over a thousand. I slept a few hours, and wrote some more. By the time I had to shut down my laptop and start my teaching day, I had 1820 words under my belt. I posted this total to the NaNoWriMo website; my username is pamasberry, if you want to be my writer buddy there. If you are not a participant but want to follow my progress, I have added a word count widget to the sidebar on the right of this blog.

I am totally stoked about this project and can hardly wait to get back to work on it tomorrow. It is a young adult novel, narrated in first person present tense--a new genre and a new writing style for me. I am enjoying getting to know my characters and telling their story.

How did you spend your Halloween/NaNoWriMo Eve? Do you NaNo? Yes, I am using that as a verb...