Lockdown Lessons

Many are saying that 2020 is the worst year ever. And I agree, I never would have chosen to stay-at-home. Many are suffering in ways that breaks my heart.

But if you are a glass half-full optimistic type person, there are silver linings. (I have been on a cliché kick lately). For some of us, this has been a time of reflection of our lives, and a time to ask for divine wisdom on where to go once the doors are open to rebuild.

I learned the joy in writing posts.

I learned that God provides in unusual ways, requiring me to step out of my comfort zone in two separate situations.

I have reassessed my writing projects, putting one on the back burner: my Coos Indian flash fiction series. I am writing my first sonnet, and I have to say I hate it. I will do it once to say I did one. Not all bucket list items are fun.

I opened my college grammar book, and decided it was time to brush up.

I have heard the phase “New Normal.” I don’t accept it. I see the major writing magazines writing many articles around this concept, and in a few this concept has taken center stage over their main mission – writing encouragement and advice. I enjoy writing as a hobby and hoping to touch a few lives out there, so I don’t read many articles on publishing. But I have been taking notice of the writing industry and how it will change in the days ahead, in this cultural war.

Project Ideas in the Middle of the Night

Last night was productive. I was totally lost on my Coos Indian project, not knowing the setting or conflict.

In 1931, the Coos, Siuslaw, and Lower Umpqua Indians gave depositions to the Court of Claims, for compensation of confiscated lands. These are tribes that inhabited SW Oregon. Setting solved: location and time period. I have never written historical fiction, but I love doing research and learning new things. Conflict: something having to do with this court battle.

I can listen to classical music sometimes. However, there is one piece of music that rocks my soul.

Research Skills and Project

I searched the National Archives for Coos Indians. It returned 9,475 results in 0.55 seconds. You can export the results into a file. Since that search yielded that many results, I choose something more narrow to search for – Coos Bay Indian marriage – so I could try out the export function. I choose a CSV file, so I could sort the entries.

The National Archives has a good explanation of how to use Boolean searches to narrow down the exact information that you want. I have used Boolean searches over the years, but learned for the first time that putting a term in parenthesis will exclude punctuation, e.g. in a person’s name.

I am using Gothan Writers’ Workshop Writing Fiction to study fiction writing. The first chapter is an intro into writing fiction, and the second chapter gets into the nitty-gritty of characterization. After I read and underline, I will do some research and come up with a character, a person. First on the list will be to come up with an Indian name from that era, around the turn of the 19th century.

With current events, I have my eyes buried into the sites I pull up every day for news. I have not been writing poems, until I felt the Lord told me I needed to. So I started a new one based on Luke 10:16. Once I did, I felt better.

This project will be slow going. But I will update periodically, because I know some are interested (my likes told me this) and it keeps me accountable. I consider this a journey – that anyone who wants to keep tabs on – will be helpful for all who read.

Researching Project

Beginning of my research for the Coos Indian project. I am reading two books I purchased at the Coos History Museum: Ethnobotany of the Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians by Patricia Whereat Phillips, and She’s Tricky Like Coyote by Lionel Youst. The Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua and Siuslaw Website has a bit of information too. Just the beginning.

I also serendipitously read an article, “Treasure Hunt,” in April’s The Writer magazine. It instructs how to access the Library of Congress, National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, and others for resources. I would not have thought to even use these resources. This will prove to be an education in and of itself.

I am leaning heavily in approaching this from a series of related flash fiction stories.

and hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out within our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.

Romans 5:5 NASB

New Project and Encouragement

On my bookshelf sits Gotham Writers’ Workshop Writing Fiction. Skimmed heavily but never used to write a short story.

I have been mulling over doing a short story, or a series of flash fictions or prose poems, about a Coos Indian facing a hard choice. So in the days ahead I may post interesting things I have researched.

As the stay at home orders are still up in most states, it is getting harder and harder to feel encouraged about our current state of affairs. I with much Holy Spirit discernment believe what the prophets – and those who do their best to speak the truth – have to say. Here is a video that I hope encourages you.