Diverse, Unique Taos

 

Beautiful Taos

Last week I shared photos of old cemeteries we visited in Taos. This week I want to share some photos from our time there that are not cemetery related. I am enamored with this city of all things art. However, working in the law enforcement arena, I chose to research the crime rate. While I was there, no less.

Yup, I just had to go there, because that’s how I roll. And I was totally shocked.

Neighborhood Scout shows that across communities of all sizes, the violent crime rate is one of the highest in the nation. By “violent crimes,” they’re including rape, murder, manslaughter, robbery, and assault. Property crime is even higher. To put things in perspective, they state that the chances of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime is 1 in 11. Ninety-eight percent of the communities in New Mexico have a lower crime rate than Taos. Yikes!

Bestplaces.net ranks crime from 1 to 100, the higher the number, the higher the crime. Below is where they rank Taos:

Taos County violent crime is 53.9. (The US average is 31.1)
Taos County property crime is 49.9. (The US average is 38.1

Yet with that all being said, and noted, I still can’t help but love the place. It’s filled with art, diversity, culture, and character, like no other place I’ve visited thus far. Below (and above) are some photos of the beauty.

The below two photos are of the Bed and Breakfast where we stayed. Every afternoon they have Tea Time when they serve just that–tea–and so many delightful goodies! The 2nd photo is the dining area where they serve breakfasts that are out of this world!

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The next two photos are of the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. Just a tad frightening. But the beauty was breathtaking.

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After looking at the next two, you can guess that I love to photograph doors. I’m not sure if there’s more to that than I’m aware of or not. ūüôā

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Below is a trail we hiked in Carson National Forest, named after Kit Carson.

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Below is a stream that ran along one of the shops in Taos Ski Valley, followed by a photo of some low-hanging clouds on mountains colored with golden Aspen trees. The scenery there is stunning!

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As you grow older, you learn a few things. One of them is to actually take the time you’ve allotted for vacation.¬† –John Battelle

 

 

Writing My Memoir

English: Typewriter "Hermes" Deutsch...

So the idea of writing my memoir has been tumbling around in my mind for a long time now. Having a tendency to cram ten lifetimes into one, I’ve experienced so many things in my life, good as well as some not-so-good (aka: mistakes), that I would like to share in the hopes of helping others get through their trials and tribulations. Even if it’s just one person I am able to reach. And even if it’s simply by letting that one person know that someone out there has experienced what they’re going through, understands them, and has overcome.

Research I’ve done revealed numerous articles which advise that in order for your memoir to be effective and worth reading, one cannot sensor what is written for fear of what people will think. That the writer cannot fear what the reader will think of them or anyone else, and the writer cannot worry about upsetting other people.

 Pen and Paper

I need to say I struggle with that concept. That being said, maybe I’m reading into those sentiments all wrong. While I don’t worry what the reader will think of me, I don’t believe it is my place, writing memoir or not, to tell someone else’s private story, even if it directly affected my life and how I grew from that connection or grew tired trying to overcome the obstacle from that connection. I would like to believe that there is a difference between writing the truth about an incident, even if someone else is involved, and throwing another under the bus. That it is possible to tell my story even where it involves others, and not hurt them in the process of telling that story.

As I finalize the last details in publishing my book, The Inheritance, and begin outlining my memoir, I think I will insert the word “Pray” at the top of every note card I prepare for each writing session. A reminder to pray and ask for God’s guidance to write the truth, to help those I can with my story, and to keep information with a potential to hurt anyone at all confidential and out of the story. Even if it’s just the name. To always remember that making the story interesting and credible means not hurting another. And that if hurting another is what it takes to make a sale, it’s no different than selling one’s soul. May my soul always belong to God.

All is Grace.

Why I Write

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Last week I received an email from the author of a blog I follow,¬† The Creative Penn, and the author asked her readers to think about why we write.¬† And that did, indeed, get me thinking…

I write because when I do, I:

*     Feel freedom and the ability to express myself in a way that nothing else can match.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Feel joy, ¬†peace, and pure contentment.¬† Even if I’m working on a piece that doesn’t come easy, I’m in my element in the quiet¬†¬†¬†¬† of¬†my office with pen in hand or fingers on the keyboard, mood music playing softly on Pandora, and my mind creating whatever it happens to be creating at that moment.

Create.

 

 

 

 

 

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Get more connected with God by making my thoughts concrete on the page, where oftentimes it’s then I can see where God is working in my life, or where I’m not, showing me I need to make myself available for more of God.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Am able to live vicariously through my characters–where else can one live so many different lives and have so many fun, funny, loyal, and even quirky friends? ūüôā

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Have the ability to reach and connect with other people that I wouldn’t have been able to without the magic of written words.¬† I’m able to connect with my sponsor kids through Compassion International, making a difference in lives in another country.¬† How blessed am I! I’m able to connect with readers on this blog, every one of which I am so grateful for. ¬†It’s a magical connection that other writer’s at heart can likely understand.

*     Can turn a bad day to better from being able to escape to another world, whichever I happen to create, or by simply writing my feelings on paper, making me aware of them and then being able to let them go.

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Spent a number of years getting too busy with life, which resulted in not writing, and I’m a much happier person when I write.

Writing journal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*¬†¬†¬†¬† Cannot imagine my life without words and story, whether handwritten or from the keyboard.¬† The vehicle which produces those words doesn’t matter, only the fact that I’m able to do it.

‚ÄúThere is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.‚ÄĚ
‚Äē¬†¬†¬†¬† Maya Angelou

All is Grace.

Banishing Routine – Sometimes

My Adidas

I recently read a blog post by Katherine Valdez  called Cross-Training for Writers, and it got me to re-think my writing routine.
While I thrive on routine in most areas of my life, writing is the one thing that sets me free from routine that can suffocate living.

Creating stories is an escape from the real world of routine and from keeping all things on a schedule.¬† Not that the real world is bad.¬† On the contrary.¬† But my need to control the real world around me isn’t healthy.¬† And, in essence, creating a routine, making sure all things fall into place, is a means of control.

Writing gives me an escape from that control, because once I start a story, outline or not, it seems to take off with a mind of its own.¬† My characters develop their own stubborn personalities and develop as they want to rather than how I had planned.¬† Or My favorite pen runs out of ink and I have to use another.¬† Or my computer battery isn’t charged and I need to sit at my desk near the charger rather than camp out on the sofa or floor like I had planned.¬† Yes, I realize I could move the charger, but that would be too logical. ūüôā

But I digress…

Katherine’s blog post made me think about how my writing life can even become mundane and a chore, rather than a joy and an escape, if I make it routine.¬† By feeling like I haven’t really written if I haven’t put a set number of words on the page¬†or clocked a certain number of minutes at my computer.

Or telling myself I can’t really count it as writing if I’m not working on a piece in order to get it published.

What I’ve come to realize in exploring this area is there are so many creative ways to create.¬† Why try lock oneself in a box of expectations we place on ourselves?

Doodling/sketching is a creative outlet.  And that sketching exercises an area of the brain that is different from writing.

Mentally creating story lines, character traits, scenes, etc., while watching a movie or reading a book exercises the thought process part of the brain.

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Listening to conversations on public transportation, in cafes or coffee shops, at work or in the park,  catching snippets of conversation, the tone of a voice, etc., teaches us to be attentive to our surroundings.  To listen like a writer, exercising yet another part of the creative process.

Reading books/blogs/articles/magazines/websites on writing teaches us what works and doesn’t work.¬† However, just because something didn’t work for one person doesn’t mean it won’t work for you.¬† One thing that does work for the majority, however, and would be wise to follow, is the advice to be persistent and never give up.

Never stop trying. Never stop believing. Never...

Just as cross-training in exercise works different muscle groups and keeps the interest alive, cross-training in writing exercises different muscles and keeps the excitement of the process alive.

All is Grace.