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Posts Tagged ‘Shelley Odendahl’

We like to think we are in control of our own time and energy, but sometimes life’s unexpected events cause us to shift priorities and put our own pursuits on the back shelf.

In the past couple years, the illness and passing of some of my family members have taken precedence in my own life. It was a gift to be a caregiver (along with my sisters) for my mother before her death last winter. I mourn Mom every day, and also smile at the good memories we built over the many years we shared.

I have gradually taken back the reigns of control over my own being. In the past couple months, my Realize Your Dreams book-in-progress made it back to my writing desk. I updated it per suggestions made by my editor long ago, added some content, and sent the manuscript back to her for a final editing. I plan to self-publish it as an electronic and print-on-demand book within the next few months.

I am more aware than ever how important it is for me to take writing classes to keep me moving forward.  This summer, I attended a “Writing in the Garden” workshop taught by Angela Foster and Candace Simar. I have since completed one class and just started another one, an online class, at The Loft Literary Center, a marvelous resource for writers.

In order to keep motivated and productive, I will continue to take classes – to stay committed to doing what I want to do – write books!

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Photo of Devil's Island Sea Caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore by Cliff Odendahl.

Devils Island Sea Caves in Apostle Islands National Lakeshore – Photo by Cliff Odendahl, Copyright 2013

A few months ago I sent a book draft to my editor and wrote a short story for a local writing contest — my first work of fiction since I was a child. I was in the writing groove.

Then, suddenly, somebody close to me died and I suspended my regular activities while I helped take care of other matters. As time passed and I got back on track with other work and activities, I still didn’t write. Of course, the longer you are away from something, the more difficult it is to pick it up again. I doubt I am the first writer to lose my momentum for a period of time.

The spark to write again came from a workshop I attended at Madeline Island School of the Arts last week. I can’t say enough good things about Catherine Watson and Jane O’Reilly, who guided the class in writing personal stories with descriptive detail and emotion, and my fellow participants who supported each other’s efforts and results.

The school itself is a warm and friendly operation, located on an idyllic setting on an island in Lake Superior. My husband, Cliff, was enrolled in another workshop going on at the same time, Craig Blacklock’s photography class. For months I had been telling people that Cliff and I were going to “art camp” together this summer. We shared a cabin at the school, but with wildly divergent schedules we rarely saw each other except for occasional meals. Cliff loved his opportunity to photograph the beauty of the island and the majesty of Lake Superior.

I was on a high, living in a bubble where writing and learning about writing was my focus morning, noon and night. I am motivated to keeping the spark alive at home by writing in my blog and in my work-in-progress book, Realize Your Dreams: Create an Action Plan for Life Transformation, along with a couple other projects.

The creation of art can be a solitary activity. We can all benefit from opportunities to meet with others, expand our perspectives, learn from great teachers, exchange knowledge and share our own personal work with like-minded people. If you are a writer or an artist who could use a spark of your own – seek out a workshop, class, or conference – anything that will stimulate you and your passion for your work.

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I appreciate all of you! Thanks for your encouragement and support of my writing.  The one-day promotion of my travel memoir, Traveling Together: Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Makes Three  is over, but the ebook is still available at Amazon at its regular price of $2.99. Here is a link to it.

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My travel memoir eBook, Traveling Together: Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Makes Three, is FREE TODAY, Sunday October 14, 2012! I hope you will take advantage of this one-day promotion to download the book for your Kindle or other electronic device. Just click on this link to the book at Amazon.

Please feel free to share this information with others today.

It’s …not necessary to have a Kindle to read it. With a free app from Amazon it is available for reading on computers, iPads, iPhones and other devices. Here is a link to get that app: http://www.amazon.com/gp/feature.html/ref=kcp_ipad_mkt_lnd?docId=1000493771

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I interrupt writing about my Australian Saga to bring you the following announcement:

My ebook, Cliff and Me and the Motorcycle Makes Three will be available FREE through Amazon on Sunday October 14, 2012.

I met Cliff in 1981 and we married a year later.  We took several motorcycle trips together — to Jackson Hole, Yellowstone, the Black Hills, Door County, and Colorado.  Our adventures during those journeys are the basis for this book. At 20,000 words it is a quick read.  

I hope you will consider taking a “look inside” to read the first several pages at the link to the book’s Amazon page (book title above). Please  take advantage of this one-day free promotion to download the book for your Kindle or other electronic device.

It’s not necessary to have a Kindle to read it. With a free app from Amazon it is available for reading on computers, iPads, iPhones and other devices. Here is a link  to get that app.

If you choose to read the book, I sincerely thank you for your interest in my story. An honest review would be welcome and appreciated.

I will return to telling the story of our Australian journey. Here is a cute picture we took of a Mama Kangaroo and Joey at the Cairns Zoo to tide you over.

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One year ago today I woke up early and ventured out into the town of Port Douglas. We had flown from the outback to the northeastern coast of Australia the evening before. As I drank my cappuccino in this sidewalk café I reflected on my inner journey, reading “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron and writing in my journal. Luckily Cliff was able to find me so we could eat breakfast and explore the town.

Every mindful journey cultivates new perspectives. The obvious one is how we look at the world around us – taking in the sights, sounds, foods, and so on – gaining a physical and cultural awareness of a place we have not seen or a situation we have not been in before. This is the world we photograph and show to our family and friends when we get back home. 

At the same time, there is a journey within. Getting away from everyday obligations creates a kind of relaxation and true being of self that is sometimes hard to access during days at home with its inherent responsibilities. When we travel, we can free our mind to pay attention to the voice within and reflect on our life.

At dusk that evening we had the lovely Four Mile Beach at Port Douglas nearly to ourselves under a moonlit sky. This is the kind of dreamy scenario that inspires couples who travel together to connect their inner journeys together.

Perhaps this is our best opportunity to discover what we are satisfied with in our life and what we want to change.

 
 

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The phrase “Australian Saga” reminds me of Colleen McCullough’s 1977 book and the subsequent 1983 mini-series The Thorn Birds which spoke to the young romantic in me. (Anybody else with me here?) Perhaps more than anything else I can point to, this dramatic fictional story brought the Australian Outback to my attention and contributed to my dream to visit the country someday. Last year, along with my husband Cliff, I realized that dream.

Uluru at sunrise – a mesmerizing sight.

The saga I am recounting here, about our travels, includes a visit to the Red Centre of Australia. However my husband and I had a completely different experience in the Outback than what I read about in The Thorn Birds.  We never drove a jeep on long, dusty red roads or visited a sheep ranch. Instead we chose to visit a national park that is endowed in amazing natural beauty and cultural significance.

Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park is home to both the 2.2 mile long monolith Uluru, previously known as Ayers Rock, and a cluster of huge rock domes known as Kata Tjuta, 22 miles away. It is a World Heritage site – home to the Anangu people, the traditional and current owners of the area. The national park is co-managed by Anangu and the Australian Government. Visitors are welcome within

Living in the moment and experiencing the beautiful intensity of the desert at Kata Tjuta.

certain parameters – some areas of the park are restricted for religious and cultural purposes – but I never felt limited.

In the few days Cliff and I were in the Red Centre, we lived the kind of travel experiences I could only dream of. We took part in the Sounds of Silence dinner – a pricey but very cool experience where we were seated at candlelit tables under the desert skies with people from around the world, eating the food and hearing the didgeridoo music of the outback, under the night sky of the southern hemisphere.

We visited Uluru at sunrise, midday and sunset. The rock is fascinating on so many levels.  Its color changed from rosy sandstone to a ruddy brown to a deep burgundy depending on daylight and perspective. Up close you can see the texture and crevices on the surface that looks smooth from a distance.

We hiked though the rocks at Kata Tjuta on a hot day. We were fortunate to be there during a fertile spring bloom that followed earlier rainfalls.  The contrast of vivid red dirt and lush green foliage with flowering plants in the desert painted an enduring image in my memory. 

 This part of our Australian journey was an intense experience that will live forever in my heart.

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