Healthy Writers Club: Stand-Up Paddleboarding

Photo Courtesy of Shallee McArthur
Happy Friday, everyone! I hope you achieved your fitness goals this week, and I can't wait to tell you about my foray into the world of stand-up paddleboarding.

I have decided to segment my milestones into three different categories each week: body, mind and spirit. Here is my progress:

BODY

I attended my first stand-up paddleboarding lesson on Sunday, and I also rented a board and went paddleboarding through the mangroves with a good friend yesterday. I was completely nervous the first time I paddled out, but the boards are way more buoyant and stable than I expected. It wasn't long before I made the leap into actually standing on the board, and paddling came fairly naturally once I figured out the proper stroke technique.

Photo Courtesy of ingridtaylar
The physicality and grace was exactly what I thought it would be, and I felt determination solidify inside me as I balanced and stretched and succeeded.

I want to be good at this.

MIND

I have been between manuscripts for a few months now; the stress of my everyday life has been so overwhelming that the last thing I have wanted to deal with is a new project. However, a conversation with my fabulous agent this week finally inspired me to jump back on the wagon. I decided to start a project I've been marinating on for about a year now, and I can already feel those creative juices beginning to flow again.

The project will be a YA Magical Realism called THE PUREST SHADE OF WHITE, and it will star polar bears, zoos, ghosts and snow. I think this picture pretty much sums it up:

Photo Courtesy of Me
I have been playing with this novel's characters for so long that they already feel like good friends. I can't wait for them to finally tell me their story.

(Want more story hints? Check out my brand new Inspiration Board on Pinterest: THE PUREST SHADE OF WHITE.)

SPIRIT

As part of my journey of getting reacquainted with myself, I made it a point to stretch myself this week. I visited the Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Aquarium, and I took my parents on a Tampa Ghost Tour. I spent time with amazing friends I've barely seen since college, and I allowed myself to be distracted by beautiful things like oak trees and art festivals. I soaked in soul-soothing music, and I took time to listen to the things I was feeling--even when they weren't happy or convenient. I'm keeping a journal again these days, and that has been helpful, too.


Here are my weekly Healthy Writers Club milestones:

1. Weekly Stats: Two paddleboarding sessions; two cardio sessions; two ab, bun, arm and leg workouts; three long walks

2. In-Flight Entertainment Favorite: I'm the type of person who puts a lot of weight in songs and song lyrics. The Zac Brown Band came through for me at the perfect moment this week with the entrance of "Goodbye in Her Eyes" into my life. I have played that song many times since then, and I have smiled and cried and sung along with it more times than I can count.

Here's a link if you'd like to check it out:


3. Coolest moment: Feeling that knot of determination solidify inside me when I stepped onto that paddleboard on Sunday... I was a little afraid I'd been putting too much emphasis on how important this lesson was going to be to me, but that moment told me I'd been exactly right all along.

4. Hardest moment: The two-year anniversary of the car accident that nearly killed my husband, our two dogs and me was this Tuesday. (You can read more about it here.) So many things have changed since that moment that I couldn't decide which facet I should mourn first.

How did your week go? Any healthy milestones or set-backs? I'm looking forward to visiting your blogs, and I hope you have a great weekend.

A Novel Idea

Photo Courtesy of David Wilbanks
Oh my God, I have a new idea.

I'm sure some of you super writers out there are smirking. I've met so many amazing folks during the past few months who literally have two or three or seven manuscripts up their sleeves--completed, polished and just waiting for the right agent. 

But I'm not like that.

I'm seldom struck with "new story" inspiration, and when I am, it's usually just a dream that seems brilliant at the time but is either illegible or is just plain stupid upon my night scribble re-reading.

I'm serious. Here is a real-life idea I came up with in the middle of the night and later realized made absolutely no sense: "Girl and ex-boyfriend time travel to 18th century island (or other planet) and begin rescuing people from tyrant... Girl falls for new boy, and they promise to rescue everyone and go to other planet (or time) for safety, but ex-boyfriend doesn't tell anyone the time machine is actually broken."

WTF?? What IS that?? It was a dream, I think, and I remember being so inspired by the beautiful, tropical water and sense of danger. But in retrospect, it's just kinda... stupid.

Here's another late-night jewel: "Two fifth-grade sweethearts reunite and begin dating, but they soon realize things have changed since they were kids, and they have to struggle to overcome their differences."

Alright, that one's not quite as bizarre as the first one, but it's just kinda... trite.  And boring.

This really shouldn't come as a surprise to me. I am, after all, the girl who dreams about arranging pool chairs and driving to work. I can't remember the last time I had a really awesome, creative dream--although I did used to dream that I got to fly around with Peter Pan when I was a kid. Life has just kinda... gotten in the way, I guess.

So now you can fully appreciate the excitement I feel about this brand-new idea. Which is not a sequel to the novel I'm currently shopping to agents (although I'm still working on that one, and I'm still stoked about it). Nope, this is a brand-new idea, and it's raw and immediate, with alternating viewpoints, alternating chronology, and fun digressions into memories and tangents.

AND it's about polar bears.

What more can I say? :)

The Alaska Zoo's Newest Baby!!


The Alaska Zoo just rescued a baby polar bear! Check out this article from the Associated Press, take a few moments to enjoy this wonderful video by zoo photographer John Gomes, and then read on to see what Executive Director Pat Lampi has to say about the zoo's newest orphan. (Here are a few more photos, also courtesy of John Gomes: Orphaned Polar Bear Cub.)  Apparently, this baby will be on "Good Morning America" tomorrow morning, so you can say you knew her before she was famous!

The Alaska Zoo is pleased to work with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and to provide temporary care for this orphaned, female polar bear cub. The Alaska Zoo already has two adult polar bears and does not have additional permanent exhibit space at this time.

AK Zoo staff has cared for 45 orphaned or injured bear cubs over the past 25 years: eight polar bears, 32 brown bears and five black bears. This polar bear cub had spent at least two days without her mother’s care in the Arctic, with temperatures dipping well below 0 degrees F.

The cub’s wellbeing is, of course, everyone’s foremost concern. She needs time to regain her health and some of the weight she lost. The polar bear cub will not be on public display any time soon. Changes to this status would be determined by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, if they deem it appropriate. USF&WS will also be determining the permanent placement of the bear. AZA/Polar bear SSP officials have been contacted so that they may make their recommendations for permanent placement.

Thank you,

Patrick Lampi
Executive Director
Alaska Zoo


(P.S.- How jealous am I right now?? I helped raise many of the zoo's baby brown bears, but a POLAR BEAR shows up the second I leave the state! ;))

(P.P.S- John Gomes just shared another video with me! See it here first!!)