Thank you for following my blog. I’ve moved to a new website. You can continue to follow me at http://carolbalawyder.com/category/writing/ under the blog menu. Hope to see you there.
It was a Thursday June 17, 2010 when I met Marsha Lawrence at Concordia University for my first introductory lesson to blogging. At the time she was the organizer of the Meetup group Her New Self, a group where local women were undergoing or making major life changes.
I was one of them. The first question she asked me regarding my blog is,”What is it’s purpose?”
I told her that I wanted a blog to showcase my writing in an attempt to find an agent, a publisher for my books. She chose WordPress as the blog software and the decisions began: Username. Password. Web address. Blog name. Choosing a template. This was as foreign to me as a new language.
For awhile, I had one blog going which was titled Writing Scales on the Art and Craft of Writing. Through this blog I began to write about my online dating experiences and thus started another blog titled a girl called Brenda. It was all experimental for me both blogging and the writing. In time a girl called Brenda evolved into a novel, The Dating Club, which is currently in its editing phase and I hope to have it out shortly.
The novel revolves around four women who are looking for their Prince Charming. One of the characters, Missi Morgan is a writer for an online e-magazine about mid-life dating. Brenda became Missi. Such is the mystery and magic of fiction.
Sometime else happened in these years. Self publishing began to take up more space saying, move over traditional publishing, and the stigma that was so often associated with poor writing and Vanity Press was quickly dying. Terms such as branding and platform were showing up all over the place and I knew that if I wanted to share my writing I would have to adapt to this new technology.
My first attempt at self publishing was a memoir on grief through Create Space. Not a best seller. Can’t figure that one out. Still, it put me on the self-publishing cho-cho train.
As the train moves forward so do I.
As Einstein once said: Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance you must keep moving.
Who am I to argue with Mr. E?
I have moved to a new website at http://www.carolbalawyder.com where I have centralized my writing. Under Women’s Fiction you will still find Ten Great First Dates. The menu also includes short summaries of my crime novels for which I am still debating whether to go traditional or self-publish.
I also have a blog which has expanded beyond just writing. Here, I will regularly post blogs where I will make you meet some very interesting people on this planet. Of course, I’ll also continue to write about writing workshops and conferences I attend and whatever other creative and fun inspiration I can share with you.
I hope that you will subscribe to my new blog and continue our online relationship. I truly look forward to your comments and our growing friendship.
Thank you all from the bottom of my heart for following me.
The idea of writing about Ten Great First Dates came to me because I was tired of meeting men in coffee shops. Although most of the men I met were very nice men (no creeps or psychopaths); I just didn’t click with them and it became terribly depressing.
I have nothing against going for coffee once in a while. But I think this should be saved as an adjunct to some other activity, like after seeing a movie or simply hanging out.
But first dates aren’t about hanging out. Nor are they about getting to know everything about the person’s history in half an hour. First dates are about seeing if you like the person enough to want to have a second date with him and if that doesn’t happen because let’s face it, it rarely does, in the meantime, you might as well have a good time.
It occurred to me that there were lots of alternatives to the stereotype coffee shop date and so I began to search for these places. In doing so, I discovered something interesting. I was getting to know my city in ways I hadn’t before. I was also getting to know myself and the kind of man I was looking for.
That is great in itself.
Do take time to click on the links. There’s some interesting stuff there.
Although they are set in Montreal they can easily be transferred to any city or town. They are mainly ideas. I hope that you enjoy these posts as much as I enjoyed creating them .
I also hope that you’ll enjoy reading my stories and that we will get to meet again in my upcoming books: Missi’s Dating Adventures and The Dating Club.
Finally, thank you so much for stopping by and do leave comments if you feel like it. I’d love to hear about your own first date experiences.
Brenda’s cell phone rang. It was Marvin telling her that he was wearing shorts for their date later on this evening.
“Yeah, it’s so hot outside.”
True, they’d had a spring thaw but it was still February. Hardly what she’d call hot. Wearing shorts was gauche. Still, she wasn’t going to let his lack of social grace keep her from what she was planning on wearing: her jean jacket with the faux fur collar over a woolen dress and a pair of knee high boots. What was it Naomi Wolf had said? Dressing for sex is sex and grooming for sex is sex. Not that Brenda intended on having sex with Marvin. Did she? Certainly not if he was wearing shorts on a dinner date.
Annoyed at Marvin, she clicked her phone shut. There were guys who inspired you to write dating advice for men; after five dates with him, Brenda concluded that Marvin supplied the perfect do-not-do list:
– Never answer your cell phone on a date unless it’s a total emergency like your mother is dying any minute or the parole board needs to get in touch with you at all times. Especially don’t answer it five times during the meal and each time excuse yourself to go and talk in private like you don’t want the person on the line (a secret wife or girlfriend) to know that you’re with another woman.
-Don’t ever complain about the slow service which goes with don’t wolf down your meal as if you can hardly wait to get out of there.
-When you’re leaving the restaurant, don’t walk ten feet in front of your date talking on your cell phone like you’re making some kind of drug deal.
-Finally, and this Brenda felt particularly hurtful, do not text message to ask a woman out on a date and especially do not add “if the hockey strike is still on”.
Marvin picked her up at eight-thirty sharp and at nine-fifty exactly he dropped her off at her doorstep. When he came to kiss her on her lips she diverted so that his kiss landed in the space between the car door and her earlobe.
Why she agreed to his invitation for a meal at his place the following Friday evening had little to do with her believing that she might have missed something grand about him, nor was it because of the book she was reading which advised going out with a guy at least ten times before throwing the towel in. As she drove Friday evening to Marvin’s house, veering her car beneath the highway underpass she knew that she was going there for sex and only sex.
Yet, she hoped that somehow when she saw him she would feel for him the wild, inexplicable chemistry that she’d been seeking but never finding. As soon as he’d open the door for her she’d feel her heart jump with sexual excitement. He would forget about the hockey game, even turn the TV off and lure her into hot passion as he slowly began to touch her, his shallow breath quickening. Unbuttoning her cardigan he would lead her into the bedroom, taking her hand as if he were protective of her. Lying on the bed she would stare into his wonting eyes as he tenderly looked down on her. He would tell her how beautiful she was and she would feel the rush of her blood going through her veins. In bed it would be glorious. He would instinctively know where to touch her and spend hours kissing her eyelids and the nape of her neck, teasing her. They would hungrily search each other’s mouths, softly biting each other’s shoulders and forearms. It would …Brenda screeched on the brakes just in time to avoid crashing into the car in front of her…be a fantasy.
“Come on in,” Marvin said and raced back in front of the TV.
“I thought the hockey game is on strike.”
“It is. These are old games I taped.”
Brenda sighed. If there had been the tiniest wave of electricity it had instantly gone mainline. Still, as she sat next to him his hand was on her thigh and although Brenda felt no sprinting of her heart for him it pleased her that he wanted her. It had been a long time since a man had desired her even though this was not the way she wished to be desired. After the game, and the commentaries that followed, Marvin led her into his bedroom where their sex was boring and mechanical. She lay beneath his bony body staring at his peeling paint on the ceiling and thought how they were just two people who hated being alone more than they hated the emptiness of their lovemaking.
“Was it good for you?” he asked.
What kind of question was that? There was no other answer to that question than a lie. “Yes,” she said and then rolled over, got out of bed, pulled on her jeans and t-shirt and said “I have to get home. There’s laundry to do.”
It took Marvin a week to call back. “I’m looking for a man who will call me the next day we have sex and tell me how wonderful it was. I’m not looking for a man who waits over a week and calls on Monday. Those kind of men are a dime a dozen. I want to be a man’s Saturday night girl; not Monday’s leftovers.” Brenda said all this and then hung up.
Brenda had just completed all the revisions on her novel. She’d been working steadily on it for three and a half years and now it was finished. She felt elated as well as lucky. At a writer’s conference, when she pitched the book to a well-known publisher in New York City, the editor asked to see it.
It was past midnight. She went to bed.
The next morning her sister called. “I’m having a bar-b-q for the family,” she said. “Do you want to come?”
“Guess what?” Brenda said, “I’ve finished my manuscript!”
“That’s nice,” her sister said. “What do you want to bring?”
“I’ve got a publisher and I’m sending it this morning to the editor.”
“Bring potato salad. Our mother’s recipe.”
At the bar-b-q Brenda placed her potato salad on the table and took off the plastic wrap over it. Her aunt who was standing next to her said, “How have you been, dear?’
“I’ve just sent out a manuscript to a publisher.”
“It’s nice to have a hobby,” her aunt said. “Your potato salad looks good. Is that your mother’s recipe?”
Then a cousin whom she hadn’t seen in a long time spotted her. “Hey,” he said, “How it do, Brendy? Long time no see.”
There were reasons for that, Brenda thought but was keeping them to herself. No sense ruining her sister’s bar-b-q. “Yeah, well, I’ve been busy writing my crime novel. I sent it out yesterday.”
“No shit, Sherlock. I always thought I could write a novel. Can’t be too difficult. I’ve got a few crazy tales up here myself,” he said pointing to his head.
“I bet,” Brenda said. “Excuse me,” she told her cousin, “I have to talk to grandma.”
“I heard you say that you finished your manuscript,” her grandmother told her.
At last, someone in her family was taking an interest in her writing.
“I did, grandma,” Brenda said glowing. “Three and a half years and I finally sent it out.”
“Oh my, how many pages is it?” her grandmother asked her.
“Five hundred and thirty,” Brenda said. “Double spaced.”
Her grandmother’s face lit up. “Do you have any ruined sheets?”
“What do you mean?”
“I just thought that maybe if you had any extra pages that didn’t come out you can give them to me to line my budgie’s cage. Newspaper is so messy.”
For the past decade or so (I hate to say) I have been an online dating user. It has been at times a frustrating and discouraging ride. I’ve been on sites such as Salon.com where I met a guy with whom I had a wonderful summer fling and from whom I learned the ethics of golf. A very short-lived relationship with a man on e-harmony who painfully extracted every cavity of my neediness. There was Lavalife and on Plenty of Fish where the pond has been getting shallower and shallower and where I caught a minnow rather than a salmon.
Brenda is a fictional character out of my own experiences with online dating.
I hope you will enjoy her blog.
Getting A Blog Started
Thursday, June 17, 2010. I meet Marsha Lawrence at Concordia for she has generously offered to help me set up my blog. I am a stranger to Marsha. I met her just a week ago. She is the organizer of the Meetup group Her New Self, a group where local women who are undergoing or making major life changes meet other women.
The first question she asks me regarding my blog is,”What is it’s purpose?”
I tell her that it is a blog I will use to showcase bits and pieces of my writing in an attempt to find an agent, a publisher for the books I am writing. Marsha shows me her blogs as illustration. I am filled with awe and the more she talks about her work the more my awe expands. She then gets down to the nitty-gritty business of actually getting me a blogging space. She chooses WordPress as the blog software and the decisions begin: Username. Password. Web address. Blog name. Choosing a template. When I choose a template Marsha says, “That’s the same one I used when I had my dance school.” I look at her. The elastic of my awe stretches a bit more. Later, as we are leaving Concordia she tells me that she has a tendency to start projects and hand them over for someone else to continue. Like her dance school. She did all the leg work and then when she felt it time to move on she gave it away. “Why didn’t you sell it?” I ask her.
From her answer I understand that she is a believer in the Universe providing and I am reminded of a quotation from Swami Kripalu which I keep on my desk:
“ The universe is exceedingly generous. When a farmer sows a seed, a plant comes forth that produces thousand of seeds. If you desire abundance, be like the farmer and first give up something. Whatever you receive, keep a portion for yourself and share a portion with others. By establishing yourself in the flow of generosity, whatever you give will come back manyfold.”
We part and I feel my entire self energized, excited, vibrating with enthusiasm. This is what Marsha projects. I know I have met someone very special.
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'To be a star you must shine your own light, follow your own path and don't worry about the darkness for that is when the stars shine brightest'
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"Of all that is written, I love only what a person has written with his own blood." Fredrich Nietzsche