Rest and Relaxation

It’s been ages since I had a decent vacation. Last summer, I waited way too long before going on my summer trip. It was at that time when I started planning the trip to Hawaii that I am currently on. I am about half way through this trip and it’s the longest trip I have been on in years.

It took about three or four days to finally unwind and let myself relax. We are currently in our second place on the island and it’s much quieter than our last one. It feels like more of a beach house and the gardens are spectacular. The Hilo side of the Big Island is a lot more muggy than the Kona side but the pace around here seems a lot more chill.

So far, I have been to a few historical sites, including the Place of Refuge and the Hulihe’e Palace. I have traveled all the way to the southern most point of the United States. I have gone snorkeling and surfing. I can’t wait to go check out the hot pools, the Lava tubes, and the volcano this week.

I may have fallen in love with the geckos here, I wonder if I can smuggle one back with me?

The point that I wanted to make with all this way to stress the importance of going on vacation. It is important to to trips like these. They are a million times more valuable than any thing. I am glad that I suggested going on this trip instead of doing traditional Christmas this year. What we have done here will stay with us longer than any gift ever could.

More over, I am glad that we choose to come to the Big Island rather than one of the more popular vacation islands in the Hawaiian Islands. The Big Island is more wild and you get the sense of new and untamed from it. Geologically, it’s the youngest of all the islands in the chain of Hawaiian islands. When you see field and field of dry lava bed, you know that there’s still so much time that’s needed for this island to mature. Even from a civilization point of view, Hawaii has a lot still left to develop but unlike the mainland, Hawaii has already taken great steps into the world of conservation and alternative energy.

I will likely be coming back to this island someday. I said the same thing about Haida Gwaii. Both of these islands have left a standing impact on me. I still have more to explore in Hawaii and I hope that I can visit the other islands in the chain someday.

Aloha for now!

Clara D. Munro

My First Cassette

I remember it was the Christmas of 1989, my parents got me my very first Sony Walkman and my cousin Joel got me my first tape. It was Alannah Myles self titled album, the one with Black Velvet on it.

Up until that point, I had been only listening to hand me down tapes from my brother and parents for artists like Michael Jackson and the soundtrack for the Raccoons movie.

I listed to this cassette to many times that I have it pretty much memorized now.

On the Edge of Exiting Seventeen

This past week, I have been reflecting on the events of the past year. All the plans that I had made for 2017, none of them happened the way I had hoped they would and some things went better than I had expected. So much changed in my life between January 1 and December 31. I went from being happy and in love to watching my relationship fall completely apart. I watched my friends of the last decade grow distant from me while I grew closer with my newer friends. I went from hating my job to loving it again. I went from struggling as a new yoga teacher to growing into an experienced one.

I think the biggest event of 2017 for me was my break up with my former partner. Between January and May, we just could not get along. I felt trapped in the relationship and used by my partner as a domestic servant. We were more like roommates than lovers as the end. I hit my breaking point at the end of May and I finally asked him to leave. The moment he stepped out the door, I felt nothing but relief because it was finally over. I have since cut all ties with him, his family, and his friends and I haven’t looked back.

After that, I was able to start living my life my way again. I had an incredible summer filled with travel, friends, and summer fun. Yeah, it was a hot, smokey, dry summer but I loved every moment of it. I spent a great deal of time focusing on my spiritual path and yoga practice. I made a decision to return to school to become a teacher.

My fall was spent getting my finances in order and saving up for a trip to Hawaii with my family in January of 2018. I have been getting excited for this trip since we started planning it in June. We are going to be there for sixteen days, half of the time will be spent in Kona and the other half in Pahoa. We have plans to go see the volcano, the waterfalls, snorkel in the ocean, take surfing lessons, and otherwise just chill by the ocean in the heat. I was looking at the estimated temperatures for this week and they are in the high 20s and low 30s.

So far, I don’t have any major plans for 2018 other than my trip to Hawaii, a concert in February to see Black Veil Brides, pay off a chunk of my car, and save up for school. I want to keep my next year simple and not make any big plans. If you follow my spiritual path blog, you can read a little more about my plans for developing more of my spiritual path. If you follow my yoga teacher page, you can read a bit more about my plans for developing more in that path.

Tonight, I am starting the New Year doing something different. I am spending it with the friends who have been there with me through my hardest times this year. We are going to dress up and head out to our favorite hang out place and party the night away to good food, good drinks, and good music. I haven’t’ been this excited for New Years in a long, long time.

Here’s to 2018 and a leaving 2017 in my dust!

~Clara D. Munro

Authenticity

Have you ever had a moment where you caught yourself in a reflection and didn’t recognize the person on the other side? It’s likely the strangest thing that’s ever happened to me. It’s not like I was disassociating and I didn’t know who I was anymore, it’s just that I didn’t like who I was at the time.

There’s a lot about who was the last two years that I didn’t like. In yoga, we talk a lot about being your truest self but when you have forgotten who that is, it’s hard to be that person. There’s a lot of expectations put on people to be something they are not. Whether you are in high school, university, or a company office, there’s an expectation that you conform to the culture of the environment that you are in.

For those of us who live with an inner black sheep, we find it the most difficult to conform to what other people want us to be. It can be as simple as the language you use to communicate, your moral standards, your personal ethics, or your appearance. Remember when having tattoos and piercing were taboo? I remember a time when you couldn’t have these and expect to get a job. Now, even the top producers at my company have full sleeve tattoos. My generation has done wonders for acceptance of alternative lifestyles.

Not that I have always been someone who walks the alternative lifestyle but I definitely like to play around with my appearance and fashion sense. I think it’s important for people to change things up for themselves. It’s hard to be yourself when you are being influenced by society, media culture, and social networks. We all have that one person on Facebook who appears to have perfect pictures of domestic bliss. Unless you are close with that person (I mean you see them everyday or at least once and awhile) we have no idea what’s going on in their lives. We don’t know what obstacles they are having to overcome, what battles they are fighting, or what anxieties they face.

As a writer, I often have to censor my thoughts to make sure that I don’t offend someone or compromise my work. This means that my writing is only partially authentic. If I were to say what I think and feel all the time, I am sure that I would have to deal with more flak than I think it is worth.

I think that the desire to live authentically is a great one. It’s likely one of the best motivators I have ever had. Being authentic is not to be confused with being positive all the time. Authentic means that you embrace all of your sides, the good, the bad, and the ugly. We are not pretty creatures all of the time and we have our dark sides. Total rejection of your dark side can only lead to a complete and utter breakdown of your person when you are faced with a situation that you have not learned to deal with.

~Clara D. Munro

NaNoWriMo Winner!

I did it. I actually did it. For the first time in the five years that I have registered for National Novel Writing Month, I actually finished the 50,000 world goal.

I did it. I actually did it. For the first time in the five years that I have registered for National Novel Writing Month, I actually finished the 50,000 world goal. Not only that, but I made the goal of writing 1,667 words a day. I wrote every single day for thirty days on a story that I started conception on in October.

winner
The Final Total

Writing the 1,667 words a days is easier when you have character, plot, and story direction planned out. I am glad that I didn’t bother to try to write chapters because it didn’t limit my mind as so what I could be writing. I can tell you that the story is not complete but it had a really solid start to it.

Most adult novels are between 85,000 and 90,000 words long. The 50,000 goal for NaNoWriMo is just a starting point for writers looking to get into starting a novel. You cannot complete a decent adult novel in 50,000 words but you can write a novella or a young adult novel.

I can tell you that I ended up creating some new characters for my story as I went a long. Also, some relationships between characters got, how shall we say, complicated. Someone died, of course, and there was an epic fight scene.

Will there ever be a published version of this story? I don’t honestly know. My whole purpose in doing this was to get a daily writing habit going. For the most part, I want my daily habit to include blogging on one of my three blogs on a daily basis. I have learned that writing a novel takes up a great deal of creative energy. There were days during the last month when I wanted to write in my blogs but I knew that I needed to complete my 1,667 words that day. It’s not that I couldn’t do both, it’s that I wanted to give the story my full attention.

There were other creative things that took a backseat to writing the novel. I didn’t have a lot of energy to sit and knit or play music. I was getting to the point by the end that all I wanted to do as soon as I got home from work, was sit down and write my daily words and then veg out all night. The best days, were the ones when I would get home from work, take my dog for a walk, and then sit down to write. After that, sometimes I would have energy to knit or play a game.

Now that NaNoWriMo is over, I have made an update to this blog and website. You might notice that the URL has been updated to say claradmunro.com and that there are no longer any adds on the blog. I have purchased a personal plan from WordPress. This is more for aesthetics than anything else but I link the was a personal blog looks when there are no ads on it. It gives it more of a professional feel. Not that I am a professional writer (unless you mean email writer) but I do enjoy writing and for me, that’s all that counts. While I would love to be paid for writing, I am fine with just being a blogger who rarely cares about things like spelling, editing, and grammar (as you might have noticed).

Please feel free to follow my blog via WordPress or email if you would like to learn more about what I am going to do with this novel and other things I have planned for this blog.

~Clara D. Munro

Week Two Update for #NaNoWriMo2017

I have finished my second week of NaNoWriMo. It’s been so awesome to be able to see my daily progress add up. I have not missed a day of writing yet. I have a clear vision of how I want the story to end and I am following my outline to get there.

So far, my idea of just writing sections of the story each day rather than trying to do chapters is working. I have kept up my promise to not read over any of my previous writing. I have not edited any of the other days. I don’t even go back and read what I have written at the end of the day. As I said before, I will leave all of that for December when I put it all together into a second draft.

The title of the book I am working on for this year’s NaNoWriMo is “The Mystery of Oak Grove County”. Turns out, I am writing a romance mystery novel. Last week, the writing was heavy on the romance side. I think this week will be more of the action adventure part of the story. It’s definitely got some darkness to it.

week 2
You can see that I have been writing a little more than 1667 words a day

If you would like a taste of the music that I have been listening to while I create the story and characters for “The Mystery of Oak Grove County”, please check out the Spotify playlist below:

I will update you again next week when I finish up week three. I am half way there now!

~Clara

My Spotify Featured Playlist

Music has always been a passion of mine. I spends eight hours a day at my job listening to it on the streaming service, Spotify. I pay $10 a month to have access to their whole catalogue of music, which is extensive. I have discovered all sorts of new artists and albums by browsing the play lists and checking out what music my friends are listening to. I recommend this service to anyone who loves music and wants to support the artists rather than pirating music.

Sharing my love of music and discovering new music is one of the topics I want to share with your on this blog. I have set up the Music category so that you can check out my weekly Playlist on Spotify, learn about artists, and maybe find something you would like to your music collection.

This week’s playlist is: