Thursday 31 January 2008

Winter Is Meant To Be Cold and White

Winter has turned the prairies into a frigid, unhospitable region with severe sub-temperatures and windchill factors. Although Toronto has escaped this weather for now, I recall being in Edmonton, Alberta in 1969 when cold winter weather set records. The Edmonton Journal printed up certificates for people who withstood the 6 week period of temperatures not rising above -25F.

Winter brings memories of a sensible quarter horse gelding standing in his stable rug with his tail to the wind and his face buried deep into a round hay bale, while a Thoroughbred stood with the wind in his face.

One winter I spent in rural surroundings, 80 miles from the city, on a farm where there was a hand pump to the water well and if I pumped it twice per day the pump wouldn't freeze up. My living accommodations were rather primitive: a cedar house with only electricity, a wood stove, a telephone and R40 insulation (thank goodness). I liked living that way then as I had my horses and my dogs.

Winter is snow that crunches underfoot, cold air that makes your exposed skin tingle as the feeling leaves, and telephone wires sing. Wearing proper mittens, not gloves so your fingers don't freeze or stiffen up. Scarves to wrap around your neck and face with a toque pulled down as far as it will go, only your eyes peeking out. Woe betide you if you wear glasses: they fog up going outside and inside.

Winter is double block heaters for your vehicle's transmission, and an inside heater for your comfort before leaving on your drive. Square tires that thump when you start driving. Wipers and defrost blowers that fail to remove the frozen frost on your windshield because it's -35F with humidity of 95% in February. So, you drive hunched over, peering through the little hole just over the steering wheel -- and hoping the mounties don't pull you over due to poor visibility (yours not outside the vehicle).

What are your memories of winter? Do you enjoy the cold, or would you rather go to a tropical beach and forget the chill?

Sunday 27 January 2008

What's In A Name

I found Paul Sadowski's website on Carter Nipper's blog. You can find the link at: Numerology in letters is a fascinating study in human behaviour, and there are times when this can be positively creepy, especially when the characteristics belonging to the numbers hit home. By following the instructions with entering my birthname, rather than the name I have now, I have emphasized the meanings which I see as myself; of course, we never see what others see in us. Not usually.

After analyzing the characteristics in my name and how they reflect my inner self, or the self that has not changed by assuming a new name, it came to me that in writing there are times when it is difficult to match characters names with behaviour. I ran three of my main characters' names through and was surprised the heroine did not match hers, but the hero and antagonist did. The positive and negative traits can be utilized to make a whole person.

You entered: Barbara [middle and last names withheld - 14 letters]There are 21 letters in your name.
Those 21 letters total to 97
There are 9 vowels and 12 consonants in your name.

What your first name means:
English From the Greek barbaros meaning foreign or strange, traveler from a foreign land. Popular in medieval Britain after the 3rd century martyr St Barbara. In Catholic custom St. Barbara is a protectress against fire and lightning.

Your number is: 7
The characteristics of #7 are: Analysis, understanding, knowledge, awareness, studious, meditating.

The expression or destiny for #7:
Thought, analysis, introspection, and seclusiveness are all characteristics of the expression number 7. The hallmark of the number 7 is a good mind, and especially good at searching out and finding the truth. You are so very capable of analyzing, judging and discriminating, that very little ever escapes your observation and deep understanding. You are the type of person that can really get involved in a search for wisdom or hidden truths, often becoming an authority on whatever it is your are focusing on. This can easily be of a technical or scientific nature, or it may be religious or occult, it matters very little, you pursue knowledge with the same sort of vigor. You can make a very fine teacher, or because of a natural inclination toward the spiritual, you may become deeply emerged in religious affairs or even psychic explorations. You tend to operate on a rather different wavelength, and many of your friends may not really know you very well. The positive aspects of the 7 expression are that you can be a true perfectionist in a very positive sense of the word. You are very logical, and usually employ a quite rational approach to most things you do. You can be so rational at times that you almost seem to lack emotion, and when you are faced with an emotional situation, you may have a bit of a problem coping with it. You have excellent capabilities to study and learn really deep and difficult subjects, and to search for hidden fundamentals. At full maturity you are likely to be a very peaceful and poised individual.

If there is an over supply of the number 7 in your makeup, the negative aspects of the number may be apparent. The chief negative of 7 relates to the limited degree of trust that you may have in people. A tendency to be highly introverted can make you a bit on the self-centered side, certainly very much self-contained. Because of this, you are not very adaptable, and you may tend to be overly critical and intolerant. You really like to work alone, at your own pace and in your own way. You neither show or understand emotions very well.

Your Soul Urge number is: 6
A Soul Urge number of 6 means:

With a number 6 Soul Urge, you would like to be appreciated for your ability to handle responsibility. Your home and family are likely to be a strong focus for you, perhaps the strongest focus of your life. Friendship, love, and affection are high on your list of priorities for a happy life. You have a lot of diplomatic tendencies in your makeup, as you a able to rectify and balance situations with an innate skill. You like working with people rather than by yourself. It is extremely important for you to have harmony in your environment at all times.

The positive side of the 6 Soul Urge produces a huge capacity for responsibility; you are always there and ready to assume more than your share of the load. If you possess positive 6 Soul Urges and express them, you are known for your generosity, understanding and deep sympathetic attitude. Strong 6 energy is very giving of love, affection, and emotional support. You may have the inclination to teach or serve your community in other idealistic ways. You have natural abilities to help people. You are also likely to have artistic and creative leanings.

If you have an over-supply of 6 energy in your makeup, you may express some of the negative traits common to this number. With such a strong sympathetic attitude, it is easy to become too emotional. Sometimes the desires to render help can be over done, and it can become interfering and an attitude that is too protective, rather than helpful. The person with too much 6 energy often finds that people tend to take advantage of this very giving spirit. You may tend to repress your own needs so that you can cater to the demands from others. At times, there may be a tendency in this, for becoming over-loaded with such demands, and as a result become resentful.

Your Inner Dream number is: 1
An Inner Dream number of 1 means:

You dream of being a leader and one who is in charge. You want to be known for your courage, daring, and original ideas. You seek unconquered heights. People may get a first impression that you are very aggressive and sure of yourself.

After placing my current name in for the numerology analysis, only the Soul Urge number fit. I have retained those characteristics outlined in the first search.

Your Soul Urge number is: 11

A Soul Urge number of 11 means:

With the 11 Soul Urge, much of your thinking and interests relate to the abstract, the spiritual, and utopian dreams. You are motivated toward idealistic concepts, and the sharing of your ideas and concepts with humanity. This number is not one that is giving in a material or a practical sense, but rather one who desires to help mankind with a more abstract commodity such as religion, spiritualism, occult studies, or even psychic abilities.

If you possess the positive 11 Soul Urge traits, you have a dream of the perfect world; you are highly idealistic and inspirational. Your inner strength and devotion to your beliefs are extremely strong. You have a very good mind that is especially well equipped to handle the higher, more abstract forms of thought.

Copyright © 2006 Paul R. Sadowski

Thursday 17 January 2008

The Power of Thought

To write well, one must read. The writer needs to fill their senses with images of the great outdoors, the variety of relationships between people, the flora and fauna of the earth, in combination with their inherent ability of connection to the divine.

In 2007 I read a variety of books: non-fiction for research for my on going work-in-progress manuscripts; and, more particularly, in the genres of my current writing: romance, adventure, action, paranormal, science fiction and fantasy, and horror. Below is a partial list of my past reading material:

- Don't Look Down - Jennifer Crusie and Bob Mayer
- The Wheel of Darkness - Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child
- The Assassin King - Elizabeth Haydon
- Fingerprints of the Gods - Graham Hancock (non-fiction)
- Black Powder War - Naomi Novik
- Throne of Jade - Naomi Novik
- The Great Hunt - Robert Jordan
- The Eye of the World - Robert Jordan
- His Majesty's Dragon - Naomi Novik
- Mind Over Matter - K. C. Cole (non-fiction)
- The Masque of the Black Tulip - Lauren Willig
- The Secret History of the Pink Carnation - Lauren Willig
- Knights of the Black and White - Jack Whyte
- Lord John and the Private Matter - Diana Gabaldon
- In The Presence of Mine Enemies - Harry Turtledove
- Ruled Britannia - Harry Turtledove
- Highland Warrior - Connie Mason
- Area 51 - Robert Doherty
- Area 51: The Reply - Robert Doherty
- Area 51: Legend - Robert Doherty
- The Crusader - Michael Alexander Eisen
- Elements of Fiction Writing - Conflict, Action & Suspense by William Noble (non-fiction)
- Lucifer's Crown - Lillian Stewart Carl
- Heretic - Bernard Cornwell
- Vagabond - Bernard Cornwell
- The Seventh Sense: The Secrets of Remote Viewing as told by a "Psychic Spy" for the U.S. Military - Lyn Buchanan

In addition to books, I visit the blogs and websites of other writers and artists where I am given a glimpse into their muse, newspapers, magazines for writers where book reviews or excerpts compel me off to the bookstore to find it.

Saturday 12 January 2008

Size Isn't Everything

Almost anyone who rides horses or is interested in horse sports knows about the Rolex 3-Day Event held in Kentucky. Eventing is a tough sport; it separates the man/woman from the regular riding crowd. The cross-country fences are solid and usually wide. Three-Day Eventing originated as training for military horses in Europe, which began declining when motorized weaponry became utilized. Most horses that compete in the sport of eventing are 15.2hh to 17hh, a hand being four inches; and are a variety of breeds or breed crosses.

Recently I came across a video of a pony named “Theodore O’Connor” finishing third at the Rolex in the spring of 2007,

For those unable to view embedded videos see here. This course is difficult for the big horses and this little guy makes it look easy.

and going on to win the individual gold medal in eventing at the Pan American Games in the summer of 2007. Teddy, as he’s also known, is going to the Beijing Olympics after earning a place with the U.S. Olympic Eventing Team. Teddy is only 14.1hh tall, and is exceptionally capable of jumping courses larger horses have difficulty with. This little guy does clear rounds.

The only other pony to have done well at international show jumping was Stroller from England. Stroller was slightly taller than Teddy, standing at just under 14.2hh (which is the cutoff measurement between ponies and horses). I remember hearing about Stroller when I was a child, and thinking it was a wonderful thing a pony could hold its own with the big horses.

Tuesday 8 January 2008

A Writer's Place

Writers usually have a space they call their own to do their creative thinking in. My office is in a corner of the living room near a large window. I have an IKEA corner desk that is large enough: to place my open WIP binders on top, hold a couple of DVDs if I don't feel like writing and need a perk-me-up, a crystal angel, a Pooh Bear knick-knack to inspire me to write, a cork board with my writing charts (WIP outline) pinned up, a propped up framed picture of a street in Paris, a teddy bear tin with cookies in it and a pencil stand with sharpened pencils.

The majority of my writing is not done at my desk, but in an old, comfortable brown rocker-recliner in another corner next to a bookcase. It is there the ideas get jotted down or a flurry of writing, either in pen or pencil, into a large scribbler. It rarely happens that I am able to write after just sitting and thinking. I need to read, and read I do; in a variety of genres apart from the dark fantasy I am currently working on. I may come across a phrase that sparks an action scene to be placed later into a current WIP or one of two others for the future. Sometimes it fits nowhere and remains in the scribbler as a bit piece for another story at a later time.

My temporary boss at work gave me a wonderful 2008 calendar portfolio "Alberta Rangeland" with panoramic views of wranglers with their horses and cattle. It's hanging on the wall where the Paris picture ought to go. Just looking at it gives me the wanderlust to go home, which is in Alberta. I need to put in a few more years at the corporate grindstone before heading for open pastures.

But first, I need to get my stories out there for others to read…