Yup, I Finally Left Facebook

I left Facebook for good two weeks ago, and while I miss interacting with many of you readers and friends, I know I made the right choice for me and my family.

I don’t want to make a big deal of it. I don’t need to make some grand public statement about Facebook. I don’t think Facebook is evil, and I don’t think that you should all log off. I do think it’s only getting worse, not better. I miss the days when you could send someone cyber flowers or throw Obama at them! But, that’s besides the point.

Facebook is a communication/networking tool, and like all tools, you need to make it work for you. It wasn’t working for me anymore.

I miss seeing many of your photos reading your status updates, and I miss my two publishers’ discussion groups, and boy do I miss updates from the parents at my daughter’s school, but at the end of the day, I needed to make a choice.

I chose to make time for more meaningful conversations. ‘LIKE’ just wasn’t doing it for me anymore. I decided to choose to make more time in my day for exchanging longer emails with friends, phone calls, Skype calls, and even snail mail letters. I was only on Facebook a few minutes every morning to post on my Page, and an hour every night, but I think I also ‘checked’ people’s updates a few times throughout the day. Those minutes added up. Now, I find I have more hours in the day to do as I wish, and I’m happier.

I’ve been working on the sequel to Strangely, Incredibly Good, and it’s going well! I’m taking my time, though, because I want the second book to be just as good as the first. I’ve been posting the draft up on Wattpad.com here. You can take a look if you’re curious and if you’ve already read the first book. Leave a comment if you can, please — comments keep me motivated!

I still haven’t conquered the piles of laundry that forever need to be folded, or the dust bunnies under the fridge. Darn. But I’ve been enjoying fun times with friends and family in-person, and I think that’s more important.

This weekend, I was hardly online at all, so I’ve managed to get half the Christmas cards written and addressed, and we made yummy chocolate lollipops on my daughter’s day off school. I mulled some wine with spices last night, as it was rather chilly outside putting up our house lights. Our marriage stayed intact during the challenge of putting up house lights, at least for another year. ;) Wonderful to come in from the cold to the mulled wine on the stove. I have to say, I wish I could share a cup with all of you!

Thanks for reading my books, and thanks for following my blog. I hope you all find time to sit back and enjoy this holiday season.

Heather :)

I’m still easily found online! Just not on Facebook.

How can you reach me? You can send me an email (writer@hgrace.com) or comment here – I’d absolutely love that.

I post chapters weekly on:

Wattpad

I post daily ( sigh, yeah. trying to keep it in check!) on
Twitter

Goodreads I have a profile here

Google Plus  I post here maybe once a week?

Cheers! To 'finding' more time for the things you really love. Heather & her mulled wine
Cheers! To ‘finding’ more time for the things you really love. (Note I kick up my heel I like it so much! )
Author Heather Grace Stewart & her mulled wine

A Face and a Name

My new business cards from Moo.com are so much fun! Love how they and their lovely card holders (which come free with the cards) are sourced from paper from sustainable forests and recycled pulp. Even the four, red order reference cards aren’t wasted. Instead, they have fun sayings on them like “I like your shoes.” I passed one on to our daughter (“You’re delightful.” ) and will give the other three to readers who want them at my next book signing: Indigo Books, Pointe Claire, Quebec, Saturday, October 4th! I’ll also be the guest author reading & signing books at Pincourt Library, QC, on Tuesday, November 4th.

I’ve put a photo of myself on my business cards for the past two years and have noticed it’s made a big difference in people finding my web sites and buying my books. Some people forget names – so a biz card with just a name on it doesn’t always jog their memory about, “who the heck handed me this card again?”

Think about it for your business cards!

By the way, I love your shoes!

Heather :)

 

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An Interview with Heather Grace Stewart


Leap, from the author of Where the Butterflies Go, is available for purchase at Lulu.com and Amazon stores worldwide.
It’s also available on Kindle, Kobo, iBooks, and where all fine ebooks are sold. You can also order an autographed copy via Paypal. Contact the author at writer@hgrace.com. Half the proceeds from sales go to Hearts for Change – an Educational Project for orphaned children in Kenya.


Here’s an interview with the author from 2010:

Questions for a Poet, As Put to Seamus Heaney

Q: Some years ago, Seamus Heaney told an English journalist: “My notion was always that, if the poems were good, they would force their way through.” Is this now your experience?

HGS: Absolutely. Sometimes it comes through in a matter of minutes; other times, I write down a few lines, and the rest follows maybe a day or a few weeks later. But if it’s good, it all ends up on the page…and then typed into a document in my “Poetry in the works” file on my computer, and then, if I still like it after I’ve lived with it a couple weeks, I put it into a “Poetry to publish” file.

Q: Over the years, Heaney often quoted Keats’s observation, “If poetry comes not as naturally as leaves to a tree, it had better not come at all.” Is that just a young poet’s perspective?

HGS: I think so. It doesn’t always come naturally to me. Sometimes I just need to sit down and force myself to write. Stop listening to the whining voice; shut it out, and just “do it.”

Q: Does this mean that a poem essentially begins for you when you find a form?

HGS: A poem essentially begins for me when I’ve found my voice for it; the form takes shape with the voice.

Q: Is there a poetry time of day and a prose time of day?

HGS: Used to be I used my early mornings for poetry and at sunset, and prose anytime, but now that I am a mother, it’s when I have a notepad, pen, and that spare minute when I’m not being asked to wipe a bum or put Barbie’s head back on.

Q: I remember Anne Yeats saying that her father mumbled to himself when he started to write. Would the Stewart household know that a poem was coming on?

HGS: In my household my hubby can usually tell a poem (for kids or adults) is being born if he comes home at 6:30 p.m. and DD is beside me doing a puzzle; a grilled cheese or rice is burning on the stove, and I’m soaking wet; just out of the shower in a towel with a focused look on my face, typing at the computer, “Just a minute, honey I have this idea…” And he’s so cool about that. He’s used to me by now. Now my daughter’s getting in on it, too. She looks at my face sometimes and says, “Mommy, what? Do you have an idea? Tell me, tell me, what is it? ” I try hard to be in the moment with her as often as I can, but the kid is smart, she’s onto me…so I usually end up spilling, because I don’t like to talk down to her, and sometimes, just by explaining it to her, she helps me better formulate the idea. Just wait, you guys are going to love our kids poem, ‘Cats Can’t Cook!’

Q: Do you ever feel burdened by the sheer amount of work you know it will require to do justice to a particular inspiration?

HGS: All the time. All the time. Right now, I’m trying to write a poem that’s going to do justice to this amazing group of people I’ve met online, and become close to over a year and a bit. Some might guffaw that you can make special friendships online. I beg to differ. I don’t know how I’m going to write something that truly speaks to this experience I’ve had. I think maybe they’ll help me somehow, because a lot of them are writers…actually, I’ve dedicated LEAP in part to them.

Q: How can you tell a poem is finished?

When it stops shouting at me. ;-)

Q: Do you keep a notebook of phrases and images for later use?

HGS: I have several notebooks, with penned poems/ ideas to type out later, and my images are saved on the computer by date.

Q: Does the poem come more quickly if there is a form? Would you be offended to be called a formalist?

HGS: I don’t think anyone would call me a formalist, but I definitely use techniques. Just not formally. Okay, seriously now, I’ve written haiku, tanka,
and Villanelles, using proper form. I just don’t like being weighed down by form. As Frank sang, I’ll do it my way ;)

Q: Do you have a preference for pararhymes and half rhymes over full rhymes?

HGS: I only use rhyme when it will only come to me that way, and even then, I hesitate to use it. I have to think about it first. I ask myself, is this form going to help the message or hinder it?

Q: Are you a poet for whom the sound the words make is crucial?

HGS: It’s all about sound for me. I love alliteration. Sometimes a poem starts out with words that sound great together; they just come to me and I have to write them down. For instance, I was walking to a Queen’s University class at 8 a.m. one rainy spring day in Kingston, and couldn’t get this line out of my head: ‘These are the days, quickly melting away,” (from the poem EQUINOX). The poem took off from there.

Q: Would you accept Eliot’s contention that the subject matter is simply a device to keep the reader distracted while the poem performs its real work subliminally?

HGS: To some extent. But I don’t do it on purpose. It must be subliminal. ;)

Q: What role does humor play in your poetry?

HGS: I don’t try to be funny. I don’t try to be anything. I just write the way I think, and I think people find my honesty refreshing and humorous.

Q: What are your thoughts about accessibility and obscurity in poetry?

HGS: Accessibility is probably my trademark: something I’m proud of and at the same time it’s my tragic flaw, if you will, because I’m so accessible, many journals wouldn’t be interested. I’ve managed to get several respected online journals interested, and printed ones in the UK, and even a Canadian textbook company sought me out. I’ve been published in international anthologies, including a very special one memorializing 911–Babylon Burning, edited by the great Canadian poet Todd Swift–and in a few print journals in Canada, but not the most “elite” ones–the ones that have been around almost 100 years. I’ve kind of given up trying because I don’t think it’s that important to me any more. I want to touch real people’s lives; not just the academics. I want to write something that might comfort a stay-at-home mom or a couple struggling with their love/ marriage or a depressed person looking for a glimmer of hope in a fast-paced world. I think the people I’m trying to reach are more likely to happen upon my poetry on the Net, not so much in the special collections rooms of their libraries. I know that people can understand my poetry without having to go look in some reference book (except for the odd references I make to items in the news, and even then I try not to be obscure) and that’s quite odd. But I can’t change the way I write. I guess I’m destined to be a Fridge Poet – the one that makes it to everyone’s fridge beside their kids’ finger paintings. And at the same time, to help a few children in third-world countries get the education they wouldn’t otherwise get. That’s just fine with me.

Q: And the avant-garde?

HGS: I’d love to be avant-garde. I’d love to be Avant anything. Ahead by a Century. That’s cool. I think some of my poems are there (for instance, my collection Leap features the concept of the Status Update as poetry), others, not so much, and I guess we’ll see which ones stand the test of time in 100 years. Well, no, unless I live to be 137, I guess I won’t see that. But whether they’re set in a classic or innovative style, as long as my words can touch a few people’s hearts along the way…for me, that’s really all that matters.

Thanks for reading! —Heather Grace Stewart

Another Five Star Review for Three Spaces!

THREE SPACES
5.0 out of 5 stars

A self-contained trilogy of insight in microcosm and macro-wisdom January 16, 2014
By Carl J Dubois

Format:Paperback|Amazon Verified Purchase

The concept of “Three Spaces” is more genius than appears at first glance. Public Space and Personal Space are prelude and context for Cyberspace, and they set up beautifully the expression of the mixed emotions inspired by the new connectivity we find ourselves navigating in this changing world.

“Dances With My Daughter,” in the Personal Space section, reveals — perhaps more than anywhere else — the poet, the woman, the mother, the wife, the person — the author and thinker coming to terms with all of life’s demands, and the juggling act required by them, but mostly the liver of life who knows where the real stuff resides, and why we juggle.

It is instructive, accessible reflection from someone who finds the time to observe in a briefly detached way before rushing back into all of life’s entanglements, commitments and momentum. So wonderful too how often it feels communal, as if she is expressing what we feel but struggle to say.

Open it to any page and enjoy the simple wisdom and honest revelations of self from a soul whose writing feels like her balancing act — beauty found in the spaces between all of our appointments, and like gifts rather than some obligation we have to read it so we can move on to the next thing on our list. You will want to keep it close by, to see what gifts it reveals next time.

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What I’m Up To When I’m Not Tweeting/on Facebook

-In edits this month and next for my novel Strangely, Incredibly Good (more news on that from my new publisher next week!)

-Negotiating sale of poem ‘The Day You Looked Me In The Eyes’ (Three Spaces) to Oxford U. Press! It will be used for a teacher’s resource guide to teach their UK syllabus; anticipated sales are 500 over 3 years. I’ve worked with Oxford University Press a few times and am so impressed with them.

-Preparing to read from The Groovy Granny and teach Haiku and freestyle poetry to Gr. 3’s at a local school (early February 2014)

-Preparing to speak at Queen’s Media and Journalism Conference March 8-9 2014 – thrilled to be invited back!

-Laundry, laundry, laundry (does it clone itself when I’m not looking?)
-My title is a bit of a joke – I do love Tweeting and Facebook, but in my free time I also love Image
just being with my family, scrapbooking, and doing yoga (I’m writing those last two on purpose so I actually commit some time to them soon!)

Can’t wait to share more about my upcoming novel with all of you with a post from my new publisher – NEXT WEEK! :)

Have a great start to 2014, everyone. Make it count.
Heather

2013 in Review (THANK YOU READERS for All Your Blog Visits!)

I’m thrilled to learn that my blog had 21,000 views this year, because I have to admit, I haven’t been focusing my time on creating many blog posts or links to my blog. I’ve been focusing my time on WRITING, and then when I have free time, I’ve created Facebook page posts, because so many of you have joined me there. Thanks again!

I haven’t posted a lot to the blog this year because I’ve been occupied writing my novel. So, thanks for your patience, regular blog readers, and I promise you’ll be rewarded for it in 2014!

All the best for 2014!

xox Heather

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2013 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 21,000 times in 2013. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 8 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

No One Will Retweet This.

My brother in law passed away last week from a rare, fast-growing form of cancer. I mourned, and I wrote sad poetry, and I supported my husband who flew to BC to support his family, and I tried to hold myself together for our 8-year-old.

And then I just said screw it, and spent an entire day on Twitter.

Now, because I want my BIL to look down on me and go, ‘Yah, you really seized the day!’ in a proud and not sarcastic manner, let me elaborate. I spent the day on Twitter as an experiment.

I want to learn to use this amazing tool to reach out in a world that, more and more, is turning inward. I mean, the Oxford word of the year is Selfie. What does that say about us? We have more resources for connecting with others than ever before, but lately, it feels like we are more disconnected from one another than ever before. It’s easy to ignore a cell phone call, a text, a tweet, a FB post. Gone are the days when the phone rang loudly and we ran to grab it, then chatted for an hour with our best friend.

Life is fragile, as the death of two dear friends in January and now the death of my BIL have taught me. I want to meet people with like minds, and like perspectives on the world. I also want to meet my opposites. That’s the stuff that makes this fragile life interesting.

So, when I returned to tweeting more regularly after, quite honestly, having had my Facebook feed and blog just spurt out poetry and photography links for many years, I was pleased when I gained over 40 followers in a day.

The fact that one follower kept tweeting #MentionSomeoneBeautiful to me along with 1,000 other women he’d mentioned on his feed is besides the point. I also tried to disregard that one of my new followers calls himself a jackass, eats fire, and drinks milk through a tube that he’d stuck up his throat and out his nose. Hey. We all have our quirks!

I came away with quite a few observations from this experiment. If they can help even one new Tweeter or long-time frustrated Tweeter, I’ll not have wasted an entire day on Twitter, so I must share them.

Go for the Gentle Clap; Be Surprised By the Standing Ovation. Don’t expect a retweet, and above all don’t try to make it happen. Do not try to be funny or clever. Just be yourself and have fun on there. Besides, few of us give or receive Retweets anymore. That’s so 2008. People click one button, to Favorite. Faster. Easier. More like a gentle clap, rather than a standing ovation.

Find Your Own Voice. Some people do retweet, all the time. These are accounts that retweet lots of interesting, or maybe not so interesting, material, or anything a celebrity says, but they don’t have much to say themselves. I’d suggest that if you decide to Tweet, have something to teach people or to entertain your followers, or to enliven or enrich their lives every day. Or, at the very least have a dirty joke or two up your sleeve. Sex gets retweets, and often, mentions, which means you strike up conversations with other people, and there are lots of laughs. I can’t go there because I’m a respected professional writer, or I’m trying to be, anyway, but check out my character @BadAssGrandma  :)

Find Your Time to Tweet. The people who follow you all have schedules and routines they follow. Figure out what those are, so that your tweet gets the most exposure. If you tweet at 5:03 a.m., you may get some writers, or someone’s cat sleeping on the keyboard. Try to tweet at the same time every day, or, every few hours. Find the hour that works for you but make it during those hours when people are looking for something to do other than what they’re supposed to be doing (work hours, 9-5, is a good start).

Have Fun. Don’t take yourself or Twitter too seriously. In 10 years there will be some other social network type invention – probably involving Holograms and dancing penguins and blinking our Favorites with our eyes. We’ll all try to be Super Stars at that again, while our Twitter feeds lie dormant, but still displaying those horrid Tweets of Twitter Past.

Don’t Forget Your Ruby Slippers. Spend the bulk of your time trying to be the Super Star in your real life, giving to the people who love you and have your back. I’m not saying you can’t make genuine online friends on Twitter. I’m saying don’t forget about the people who love you back home. Twitter is Oz. Always bring your ruby slippers when you log on so you can get back home.

If you’re Tweeting to make money, please disregard these observations. I just tweet for fun, and for the applause, applause, applause. Excuse me, I have the urge to go take a Selfie.

Still have to work on my sarcasm…never been good at it. Another reason I’ll never be a Super Star on Twitter!

Heather ;-)

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