Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Category: My Book (page 1 of 2)

Trip down Memory Lane

“Hi, I’m Mark and these two are Kali, the white one, and Darwin, the gray one.” I looked up from petting the wagging fur balls that had run up to me on my way out to the camper. It is so funny how Americans always introduce themselves immediately, as if names are the most important thing during a conversation. Europeans could talk for hours before exchanging names, as I had realized more than once during my backpacking years. My eyes met those of a tall and skinny short-haired man in the doorway. “Hello. I’m Liesbet. My boyfriend Karl and I are staying with Nick for a week to visit San Francisco. Our camper is parked in front of the house.” “Camper? Why are you living in a camper?” I told him exactly why and shared my lifetime travel goals with the excitement I always feel when elaborating on my passion. Before I realized it, an hour had passed. I excused myself, ran towards our home on wheels, grabbed the CD of my favorite Belgian band dEUS and rushed back to Nick’s place. “Where have you been?” Karl asked. “Talking to a neighbor, the one with the fluffy dogs,” I answered, handing the disc over to Nick, who is an amateur disc jockey, interested in all kinds of music.

The weeks had flown by and my relationship with Mark intensified. He would leave the door to his apartment open while at work, so Karl and I could walk his dogs, together with our dog Caesar. And, I could snuggle with Kali and Darwin as much as I wanted. Today, I am not leaving, however. I am here to stay, to move in. To cuddle Kali and Darwin forever. What will Mark say about all this?

This is an excerpt of the memoir I am working on. Mark and I met in an area of Oakland called Rockridge, in November 2004. He loved living there and I enjoyed it as much, when I tossed my existing life with Karl and Caesar through the camper windows and decided to stay – unbeknownst to Mark. Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update July 2017 – Picking up the Pace

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing. A different question is posed each month, as a writing prompt for IWSG members. Answering it is optional. For June, that question is “What is one valuable lesson you’ve learned since you started writing?”

This amazing, supportive group of writers was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, the inspiring and accomplished co-hosts are Tamara Narayan, Pat Hatt, Patricia Lynne, Juneta Key, and Doreen McGettigan. Feel free to swing by their sites and see what they are up to. Don’t be shy.

It is July already (hurrah for summer!) and after a hectic two months of visiting friends and family (and dealing with heaps of important things and complications) in Massachusetts and Belgium, Mark and I are kind of settled in Oakland, California for a three-week house and pet sit. It has been an enjoyable and productive two weeks so far and soon, we are on the road again. Or better, the tracks… We are jumping on a train for 60 hours, first from Oakland to LA, then onward to Little Rock, Arkansas. We are on a little mission, which I will reveal in a few weeks. I hope for one thing on that train ride (well, actually a few things): that I am able to get a lot of writing done (and that we manage to sleep OK in our seats, eat relatively healthy and don’t smell too badly without a shower).

My black shadow Stella, loves to lay on my lap when I work – not too distracting…

I promised myself to pick up my pace/pen/keyboard again once we started this period of relative calm, and I have. Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update June 2017 – Let’s Call It a Downdate

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing. A different question is posed each month, as a writing prompt for IWSG members. Answering it is optional. For June, that question is “Did you ever say “I quit”? If so, what happened to make you come back to writing?

This amazing, supportive group of writers was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, the inspiring and accomplished co-hosts are JH Moncrieff, Madeline Mora-Summonte, Jen Chandler, Megan Morgan, and Heather Gardner. Feel free to swing by their sites and see what they are up to. Don’t be shy.

That’s me, hard at work as an IWSG co-host in May

I can hardly believe another month has passed. And, what a month it has been! Since a writing UPdate usually involves some progress, accomplishments, change in status or at least some UPlifting writing tidbits, and none of that has happened in my May, I am inclined to call this post a writing DOWNdate. As in “thumbs down” instead of “thumbs up” when it comes to my memoir. In the month of May, I managed to work on my book for a total of three hours, at the library in Newburyport, MA during our hectic three-week stay at my in-laws’ condo. Yep. That is all. Since arriving at my childhood home in Belgium on May 21st, I haven’t even had the space in my head to think about my book, let alone take action. Maybe I am excused from writing duties when visiting family? Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update May 2017 – Expanding Your Horizons

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing. A different question is posed each month, as a writing prompt for IWSG members. Answering it is optional. For May, that question is “What is the weirdest/coolest thing you ever had to research for your story?

This amazing, supportive group of writers was founded by Alex J. Cavanaugh. Today, the co-hosts are Michelle Wallace, Nancy Gideon, Tamara Narayan, Feather Stone and Liesbet Collaert. That’s me! 🙂 May is a big month for some of the members, namely the twelve finalists of this year’s IWSG anthology contest. The genre was “fantasy” and the published result, Hero Lost – Mysteries of Death and Life, has just been released on May 2nd. It is available in print and e-book. Congratulations to everyone involved!

My favorite subjects to write about are personal experiences and travel stories. I have had plenty of adventures all over the world, so there is no lack of inspiration and content, the words come easy, and little research is required. I don’t like doing research. Although, with the internet at our fingertips, it sure is much easier than when I was working on high school projects in the early 90s. When I write articles for sailing or travel magazines, I sometimes have to double-check locations and facts online, but that can hardly be called weird or cool.

Mount Cook, New Zealand

Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update – April 2017

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing.  Since August 2016, the IWSG offers a particular question as a writing prompt for their members. Answering it is optional. This month that question is “Have you taken advantage of the annual A to Z Challenge in terms of marketing, networking, publicity for your book? What were the results?”

Talking about a current topic… The A to Z Blogging Challenge takes place every April. Last year, I did participate for the first time and succeeded in the challenge. I even picked a theme: “Thoughts on Being a Nomad”. You can read those posts here. After a month of writing and posting every day, the A-Z Challenge finished with a reflection post. I might have mentioned that I started work on a memoir, but I did not promote anything.

Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update – March 2017

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing.  Since August 2016, the IWSG offers a particular question as a writing prompt for their members. Answering it is optional. This month that question is “Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?”

I have about five completed articles in my archives which have not been published. Some of them are a few years old. I’ve sent them to particular magazines (the ones I wrote the stories for) and either got no reply, or once, a rejection.  I have reworked a couple of them and sent them off on different occasions (you are supposed to wait for a rejection before submitting elsewhere, but more often than not, I receive no answer, so after multiple months, I try again with another magazine). The one time I did hear back, it was to tell me that the story was accepted. I’m signing the contract and providing a bio today, actually. Yay! I still have a few articles left that I need and want to re-submit. It is one of the many time-consuming projects on my long to-do list. 🙂

Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update – February 2017

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing.  Since August 2016, the IWSG offers a particular question as a writing prompt for their members. Answering it is optional. This month that question is “How has being a writer changed your experience as a reader?”

January has been a month with little progress on the book writing front for me. Mark and I wrapped up a three-month pet sit in the Sacramento suburbs mid-month, followed by a week-long house sit in Fairfax, CA. Then, we drove all the way south, past LA, for a two and a half week puppy sit in Costa Mesa. All that moving around and “re-settling”, plus the care for a 7-month pup always looking for trouble, the attraction of sunny weather to be outdoors and my commitment to writing a few articles, leaves little time to concentrate on writing a book. Sure, my memoir is always brewing in the back of my head, but I have not put down any more words, except for trying to understand what thread I should follow. As I mentioned last month, I could use your help. But first, I’ll answer the IWSG question, since it is somewhat related. Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update – January 2017

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing.  Since August 2016, the IWSG offers a particular question as a writing prompt for their members. Answering it is optional. This month that question is “What writing rule do you wish you never heard?”

December has been an interesting month, what with the “holidays” (do writers – or their heads – ever take holidays?) and our time in Rocklin, California dwindling down. During this recent three-month house sit, Mark and I lived in the suburbs of Sacramento. Due to the “boring” surroundings and less than ideal weather, I happily sat behind my computer every day, all day. I worked a lot on my memoir and think about it constantly when away from my temporary desk. Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update – December 2016

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing.  Since August, the IWSG likes to see a particular question answered in each blog post of their members. This month that question is “In terms of your writing career, where do you see yourself five years from now, and what’s your plan to get there?”

Last month, I hinted at maybe trying to add 50,000 words to my memoir in November. That would mean write, write, write, and don’t look back, don’t edit, don’t improve, don’t polish and don’t criticize. While this is a good way to “get it all out there”, it is not really how I have been working recently, so I chose to maintain my current goal of writing one chapter every week. Continue reading

IWSG Writing Update – November 2016

Every first Wednesday of the month, the IWSG (Insecure Writer’s Support Group) encourages writers to share their fears, thoughts, progress, struggles, excitement, encouragement or anything really about their writing.  Since August, the IWSG would like to see a particular question answered in each blog post. This month that question is “What is your favorite aspect of being a writer?”

Exactly one year ago I started writing my memoir, Floating About – A Life Less Ordinary (working title) by following a one month “outline course”, organized by Christine Gilbert. I’d like to say I’ve come a long way since then, but truth is, I have come a very short way. I worked hard that first month, November 2015, creating an initial outline and pumping out 90,000 words getting there. I also started this blog, Roaming About, around then. All that extra time, unlimited internet and “free” electricity after living on a basic sailboat for so long, had to be put to good use! Continue reading

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