Friday, March 24, 2017

Spring Has Finally Sprung

I know - some of you might be reading the title of this blog and thinking, "What is she talking about? This winter wasn't that bad! It almost seems like we've been in springtime since the beginning of February!"

Let's face it - winters are hard. There's cold, there's snow, there's ice, there's wind, there's darkness, and there's that unpleasant feeling of having your routine messed up thanks to some storm that has brewed up. 

But do you know what is worse than a harsh winter?

A mild winter. 

I have experienced a few mild winters in a row, and they are not fun. I was told last fall - my first fall back in Michigan in eight years - that this winter was going to be especially tough. The waters of Lake Michigan were especially warm in the fall, and that usually spells a lot of moisture for our area. 

There was a lot of moisture, but it was joined with warm weather from the south and was rain instead. 

The problem with mild winters is that it seems like spring, Easter, and baseball are close by, but instead they are incredibly far away.

The past few winters were tough, because even while I was enjoying weather in the 50s and 60s, that weather was not accompanied by the joy that summer was fast approaching. Rather, summer was almost as far away as it could be. There was still so much work to do.

Warm weather is nice in February, but usually it's accompanied by a nasty cold snap. Those are not pleasant at all. We are so excited to put away the sweaters and open the windows, but then we start to shiver and have to snap everything shut again.

That's not even mentioning how it affects the farmers and growers who rely on the frozen ground to keep the plants dormant and prep the soil for the proper growing cycle.

Once it actually gets to spring, we walk around with a sense of uncertainty, waiting for that freak blizzard or icy wind to blow through our light jackets.

I like normal winters and normal springs. In this environment we have, it is less and less likely that we will ever have that kind of normal. We just need to accept the weather given to us and prepare for everything. At this point, I'm ready to prepare for a hurricane on Lake Michigan.

Let's enjoy the emergence of spring. Let's also keep our winter boots out, because honestly? I'm sure there's a little more snow out there somewhere.

Thursday, March 16, 2017

The Big 3-0-0

I am presenting to you my 300th Blurb! How crazy is that? Thanks to So You Think You Can Dance recaps, wistful nostalgia, and daily breakdowns of the Olympic Games, I have made it to 300 articles on this site.

For me, this is something worth celebrating. Birthdays are just the start of another cycle around the sun, but this is a milestone! Who would have thought when I first started writing articles in the high school newspaper (which, to be honest, was more like a newsletter) that I would still be writing something other than field trip reminders, Spelling words, and hymn text that need to be memorized? Not me!

I do wish now that I had thought more seriously about going into journalism. I don't think it even crossed my radar as I considered careers. I thought of people that wrote newspaper articles as shady guys looking for the next big "scoop." I hadn't opened enough newspapers and magazines to see how a well-constructed, well-researched article was written.

Journalism would have been a really tough road. I've had droughts where I can't think about anything interesting to write, and to have that pressure while trying to make a deadline so I could get a paycheck would probably have been torture.

So now I'm doing writing as a hobby while I work at the job I was born to do: music, with teaching. With all the crazy options I could have chose, God wanted me to be at this place and doing this thing. Luckily, I still get to write.

I like to think that writing has opened up my creativity in music composition, as well. I have some pieces that are print-on-demand, but I'd love to get a book published sometime. I'm looking forward to the day when I am sitting in a church service and suddenly realize I am listening to something I composed!

I just reread my first official Blurb from September 9, 2010 about the Big Ten Conference adjustments. It's decent, but I like to think that 300 articles has made me improve my writing a bit. Throw in my stint on TouringPlans.com and my articles in Forward in Christ magazine, and I'm growing even more!

Will I ever quit and write full time? Probably not. As a matter of fact, I got a rejection email from a blog just a few weeks ago - those kinds of things keeps me humble. However, I'm not ruling out some writing or journalism classes in the future. I want to keep getting better and be able to branch out even more with my writing. That's probably how I'm able to continue my writing-every-day New Year's Resolution.

What is coming up for Blurb Musings? This summer I plan on chronicling my European trip, as well as another WELS Worship Conference. I'd like to try some more short stories and see how they float. There will be another Olympic Games in eleven months, and I still plan on daily updates for that! Whatever crazy idea sticks in my brain will probably blurt out onto the website eventually.

Thanks for reading, and thanks for sharing. It is an honor to have people who are interested in what I have to say!

I am Claire Nat! I am a teacher and write for TouringPlans.com. I write about anything that interests me - mostly music, Olympics, and fandoms! Follow me @CeePipes or facebook.com/blurbmusings. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

New Year's Resolution Update

Back on January 1, I told you about my New Year's resolution. I made it my goal to write something every day of the year.

Typically, New Year's resolutions die out near the end of February for many people. They go gung-ho in the first month, but then it becomes too difficult to continue as the days and weeks wear on.

But here I am, still writing.

I'm not saying it's been easy. There have been a few times where I have been ready to go to bed and I think, "Shoot! I haven't written anything yet!" Or I will sit in front of my computer and think, "Shoot! My mind is a complete blank!" Or I finish writing something and think, "Shoot! This is terrible!"

However, there have been other days where I've known exactly about what I was going to write. Those are fun days.

This has been an interesting challenge for me, since many of my posts are here on the Blurb. It means people aren't just aware that I'm doing the challenge, but they're watching me do the challenge! It does put on a little pressure.

I have been using my short story journal to create some pretty unique, compact stories that probably won't evolve into anything. I tried things I've never tried before, like having animals be the main characters and creating a whole universe in just a paragraph description. When I told my students about my resolution, I told them I would write stories featuring them, and I did! Some where members in a band, one was going off to college, one got amnesia, and a couple were on a cruise, but I think all of them enjoyed listening to my tales of their fictional lives.

I've slowly but surely been writing a few longer stories as well. I'm also not sure those will evolve into anything, but the nice thing about this resolution is that I always have those established writing stories if I'm desperate.

On Sunday I wrote something musical for the first time this year. I am playing for church on Sunday and the worship coordinator wanted me to play a Getty/Getty/Townend song, "By Faith," on piano with a violin. But the violinist was hoping for a little more to play than just the melody. So I suggested I write her a descant. And I did! (And it was so much fun!)

The wheels still turn and I still write. Sometimes it's 1000 words and sometimes it's a few paragraphs of a blog that will need fine-tuning later. But it's something! It keeps my brain going and it makes me ponder ideas throughout the day. (By the way, I need to keep a notebook on me at all times so I can jot down random thoughts. So many articles could be written on the ideas that I've forgotten!)

And thus concludes my writing obligation for Tuesday, March 7! Only 299 more days of writing to go to finish this baby up!