Posted in about archie, artist life, blogging, children's fiction, goals, habits, life updates, living life, reading, writing

it was the best of times – if only someone told me (life update #3)

Aloha!

Thank you for clicking on over here. Welcome welcome, or welcome back.

It’s been too long since I wrote on here, and so I thought y’all deserved a brief update on my doings and my pondering and all. Continue reading “it was the best of times – if only someone told me (life update #3)”

Posted in advice, archie's DIY, artist life, depression, free, lists, living life, mental health, self help, self-care, writing, writing community

archie’s DIY… mental health self-care

Hey, y’all.

For those who know me, or visit this site on the regular, you will know that I am fairly open about my own dealings with mental illness and mental wellness.

It’s not something I apologize for or regret – quite possibly making me more of an empathetic person and a better writer as result – but it is something I do struggle with, some days more than others…

So, having survived nearly 3 whole decades now, I thought I’d share my own go-to strategies that help me get by when the world is looking especially bleak.

This post is for all us folk needing help (tips, support, hacks, resources, pep talks, etc.) to maintain our health, for today, like, right now –
Or in other words, this is to help you get through the short-term by trying some new solutions in the next few minutes.

I have no formal education in mental health (medical, psychiatric, or otherwise), so am only speaking here from my own experiences of spiralling into acute episodes, and what things have helped me survive to tell the tale.
Most of this draws from the area of CBT – cognitive behavioural therapy – and my intent is to offer up some handy resources because it is not easily available elsewhere.

The self-help info below is listed in no specific order, and some may apply better to anxiety attacks or depressive episodes, but regardless it will always be most helpful when you are better able to identify HOW you feel.

So, try moving away from vague words (like “good”, “mad”, “bad”) and try to be more specific in identifying what emotions are being felt because it helps with self-expression, which helps with diagnosis and treatment.

emotions chart
Finally, not everything below is going to be of interest to you, so skip it if so.

Continue reading “archie’s DIY… mental health self-care”

Posted in about archie, advice, artist life, depression, failure, fear, goals, honesty, inspiration, practice, self-care, writing

on fuck-ups, neither the first nor last

Fuck.
I should be writing more. 
Not good – me writing so little.
Not enough words.
No, not enough good words.
I need a break.
Already?
Tired after writing this?
How embarrassing.
This is nowhere near good enough.
Never good enough.
Fuck.
Why do I make this so hard?
That’s what she said.
Fuck.
And I call myself a writer.
This is pathetic.
I am pathetic.
Give up.
Grow up.
Get up.
Go, do something else.
Exercise for once goddamit.
Walk, lift something, hit something.
Do anything but this.
Another bad day for writing.
That’s all.
Yeah.
Another bad day in a long line of them.
How many will it take for me to take a hint?
Fuck.
Maybe if I read more, that would help.
What to read?
Too many choices – so little time.
Will this inspire me, or discourage me?
No, my time needs to be spent writing, not reading.
So I need to find more time then.
Need to cut out more of my social life.
What social life?
Cut back on my leisure activities, maybe.
So I can become another worker drone?
More writing, less working.
Gotta quit my day job.
Working too much.
Need to work less, write more.
Simple as that.
But need money to live.
And I call this living?
Pathetic.
Fuck.

Continue reading “on fuck-ups, neither the first nor last”

Posted in advice, archie lists, artist life, artists, Iqaluit, lists, living life, meetup, travel, writing, writing community

archie lists… 5 reasons writers should live in the Arctic

Without really meaning to, I seemed to have become a writer’s stereotype.

Since late 2017, I have been living up north in the Arctic tundra, on an island of snow, ice and the occasional sunlight. It’s a small town here, the type where everyone knows everyone, or just about any way. Did I mention there was lots of snow?

archie the writer in the arctic

More to the point, life in the Arctic for me turns out to be damn similar to those few famous authors who found a log cabin in the woods to write their books without any distraction. (As an aside, Thoreau comes to mind as the most iconic cabin-dwelling writer, but how often does that image neglect less-romantic realities such as how Thoreau’s momma lived nearby to do his laundry for him? That truth not only speaks to the unpaid labour of women behind the scenes of famous men but really thwarts that idea of any person as an island onto themselves.)

 Total peace and solitude – a writer’s dream come true, right?

Well, um, yeah, actually, sort of…

Murder She Wrote interested reaction

Continue reading “archie lists… 5 reasons writers should live in the Arctic”

Posted in about archie, depression, failure, fear, free writing, honesty, writing

a terribly fucking honest post

I want to write well – every sentence and every story.

Well written – not as some mythological fantasy of perfect grammar syntax – but more along the lines of producing something truly unique, words that are carefully chosen because they speak power to my experience, a series of prose un-apologetically raw and unfiltered, escaping the usual boxes that seek to repress communication, unencumbered by familiar shortcomings that so often define our participation in Life.

I want to write honestly – even if only a sentence today. 

Which is why I am throwing all caution to the wind and willy-nilly posting whatever I write below…

To me, honesty is rarest when it concerns difficult situations, to those realities that intimidate and scare us, so much that we are ashamed of our fear and then live whole lives trying to evade its truth.

We hide in carefully constructed beliefs that keep us distracted and busy-minded, too tired and too guarded to really stop and pay attention to the burdens we all carry.

I want to write simply – resisting the temptation to hide my truths in long-winded sentences as some last-ditch effort to avoid this uncomfortable vulnerability.

So with aforementioned simplicity and honesty, I will share some of my feelings with you, Reader, in hopes that I can become more comfortable in communicating my humanity to the world, and in the process continue to learn how to write well.

I am free-writing this, so as little censoring as possible, and will seriously try not to edit any of it afterwards either.

3…

2…

1…

Continue reading “a terribly fucking honest post”

Posted in advice, artist life, artists, change, death, failure, fear, hope, inspiration, procrastination, writing

life legacies – what are you waiting for?

Please enjoy the irony of how long it took for me to finally just finish writing this post.

It was the past couple of weeks that helped me do it – not borne out of some desperate New Years resolution but actually, a mix of travelling that saw me at my grandmother’s funeral and flying in planes (which I’m quite dreadful with) and being stranded in Ottawa because of a blizzard that kept me from returning home for 5 extra days.

By the time I got home here in Nunavut, I was so flipping pleased just to be finally back. The return journey was awful but that was not what I was focusing on (maybe because I had gotten just really desperate?), and now I am already appreciating how much I need to transfer this perspective to my writing and my life as a whole.

Thinking about death and waiting and delays and everything, it occurred to me how we all leave a legacy behind, and that the scariest thing about that is not leaving a flawed reputation or something but instead leaving this life without ever coming close to finishing (or beginning?) something you fully wish to accomplish – like writing a book.

Like, stay with me a moment when I introduce a slightly morbid notion that you, reader, are going to die unexpectedly on the precise date of:
ONE YEAR, 3 MONTHS, 5 DAYS from TODAY.

Since I’m not a life insurance salesperson, I’m not going to talk to you about getting your affairs and stuff in order, but instead I am going to encourage you to really imagine what you wish to do, say, visit, overcome, leave behind, or accomplish before that date comes to pass and your time here is history.
Think of this not as some death sentence but instead as that big moment in every story when the character’s life-as-they-know-it changes because they cannot ever go back to the ignorance that they held at the story’s very beginning. Feels better already, right?

Okay, allow that news above to really register in your subconscious before continuing…

Continue reading “life legacies – what are you waiting for?”

Posted in artists, awards, feminism, goals, hope, inspiration, reading, Toni Morrison, writing

finding beauty in written word [again]

Like everyone, sometimes you have moments when you lose direction.
You struggle to recall why you are doing this, what’s the point, who cares and so forth…

In other words: doubt.
Doubting ourselves and our intentions for whatever we are trying to accomplish.
Doubting our talents as forever inferior, incapable to ever fully accomplish something.
Doubting our medium, the chosen form of artistic expression, to be the proper conduit to channel our deepest truths into something seen, heard, felt, witnessed by another.

Sometimes, I doubt whether I should be writing –
if written words are able to satisfy what I desperately need to say.

But when I begin to lose clarity in my purpose, I turn to something, anything, that demonstrates the true beauty of the written word.
It helps remind myself how it has been done before and can be done again in new ways.

Continue reading “finding beauty in written word [again]”

Posted in advice, artists, craft, goals, habits, imagination, inspiration, practice, reality, video, writing, writing community, writing help

the gap between vision and reality

Hi!
I wanted to share this short clip from an interview with Ira Glass, presented in the lovely format of kinetic typography.
His words are especially relevant for anyone doing creative work because it reminds us all how the quality of perseverance is essential to the long-term success of honing talent.

Everyone needs the investment of time, of practice, to improve any skill set.
For writers, it is the skill of communicating clearly and simply our own inner vision.

 

Remember that – keep going ❤
archie.

Posted in blogging, education, free, writing, writing help

free massive open online writing course!

Good things are found if one knows where to look…
Such as all those free online resources available for writers.
Yes, ‘free’ often means low-quality, but I’m not about that life.

The International Writing Program at the University of Iowa presents Power of the Pen: Identities and Social Issues in Fiction and Nonfiction, a free massive open online course.

This creative writing MOOC will focus on writing about identities, communities, and social issues in fiction and nonfiction.

There is no cost to enroll;
registration is completely free for all participants.

No writing experience is required.
Welcoming writers of all communities and identities.

Follow the link by clicking here!

Have fun!
archie.

Posted in about archie, artist life, depression, hope, inspiration, life updates, mental health, writing

why archie writes – reclaiming my life

To really answer that, to explain why I write, I have to go back a few years.

I spent most of my childhood and adolescence inside schools: Kindergarten, Primary School, Middle School, Secondary School, then university for two consecutive degrees.
During this time, I developed a wish to help – who or how, I was still unsure on that part.

After abandoning plans to become a “mad scientist”, I eventually specialized in Criminal Justice and Criminology and worked for a few years at different Legal Aid clinics.
It was an interesting time for me that afforded opportunity to work alongside inspiring people – mostly women – who mentored me about the legal system and its shortcomings at addressing the root causes of social injustices.
Still, I carried a vague aspiration to help people.

The insights from these lawyers, social workers and counsellors all likely contributed to me soon seeking out alternative ways to effect change through volunteerism and community actions (including organizing many large-scale events and demonstrations).
I was feeling more aligned with what I wanted to be doing, to be helping others.

It was in my late twenties that my life switched course.

Continue reading “why archie writes – reclaiming my life”