Christmas Article on Socks Generates Hate Mail

It’s funny what will make some people mad. It differs from person to person. While I’d like to believe that I’m always a patient person, but there are definitely some things that fare up in anger inside of me. Typically, though, I do not lash out at others with these feelings.

I don’t think I’ve ever written a piece of hate mail in my whole life.

I was brought up with the belief, “If you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.”

 

Edmonton Woman Magazine, November/December Issue

Edmonton Woman Magazine, November/December Issue

While there are absolutely times when people need to speak up – against terrorism, injustice, abuse… the list goes on – I never thought SOCKS would be a point of contention with one of my readers. Who would have thought a light-hearted article on socks at Christmas would push a person over the edge and make them send a nasty email to the writer?

Here is my Christmas article in the current issue of Edmonton Woman Magazine (November/December). Click the image to enlarge. You can also read it on the magazine’s site by clicking here.

Alexis Marie Uncensored Socks for Christmas Edmonton WOman Magazine blog

After re-reading the article again after receiving the hate mail, I had to pause. My first thought was: “did this person and I read the same thing?”

Socks? Seriously? Don’t we have bigger problems in the world to speak-up about other than socks?

If you read the article just now, what do you think? Am I a bad, ungrateful, spoiled person who doesn’t care about others? You know what, don’t answer that. I know who I am. I love and celebrate the person I have become over the years. At the end of the day, what others think about me doesn’t matter – not one tiny bit.

In the spirit of Christmas, in a season of love, generosity and kindness, I forgive that angry person for sending hate out into the world. Life is too short to let that negativity fester. AND – I hope s/he receives a lovely pair of socks for Christmas.

Thanks for reading!

Merry Christmas!

 

– Alexis Marie Chute

 

Click here to read my other articles for Edmonton Woman magazine. 

Distracted Humans Article, Edmonton Woman Magazine

I’m proud to share my latest article for Edmonton Woman Magazine:

Alexis Marie Uncensored: Distracted Humans

In the article, I reflect on the distracted driving law in Edmonton. For me, writing this article was a great reminder to stay focused on the road – BUT there is also a more profound message to be gleaned. I don’t believe the law will make much of a difference, and here is why: We live in a distracted culture.

  • People find it hard to focus.
  • We multitask too frequently.
  • Sleep is fractured.
  • Technology allows us to stay connected 24/7.
  • We can check our status updates and news feeds in just a few swipes and clicks.

How many times have you had someone you were speaking with check their phone at the same time? Or look like they are not really listening but already planning their response? These are some of my pet peeves.

We are distracted humans.

When I reflect on this situation, I love to find the good. What is the cure for distraction? Focus of course!

Personally, I have found mindfulness an important practice in the pursuit of focus. Mindfulness is a type of meditation that encourages one to be present, in the moment, experiencing what is happening.

Mindfulness helps me to be in touch with my body, sensing what I need. Mindfulness keeps me focused on what is important in my life.

Have you ever tried mindfulness meditation?

Distracted Humans Edmonton Woman Magazine Alexis Marie Chute BLOG

Edmonton Woman Magazine cover, Sep/Oct 2015

Edmonton Woman Magazine cover, Sep/Oct 2015

Here is my Edmonton Woman article called “Riding High.”

Edmonton Woman article on “Motherhood.”

 

 

The Cottage Days of Summer

Where has the summer gone? I always feel this way as September nears. Do you as well? When the weather was just warming this season, I wrote an article called Cottage Days for the Edmonton Senior and Calgary Senior Newspapers. In the article I interviewed two energetic women about their experiences owning a cottage and hosting friends and family over the summer. I have been a guest of both women and know they are examples worthy to be followed.

Image from Edmonton Woman Magazine website.

Image from Cottage Days article, Edmonton Woman Magazine website.

Please click on the link here to read Cottage Days.

This summer my family spent some time in a “cottage” of our own. It was a wood-walled A-frame cabin with a sink and toilet and a place to sleep. It was cozy… and when I say that, I mean small – but that is what I loved about it. We only hung out in there at bed time as we read our books and snuggled into sleeping bags.

There is something magical about cottage days, escaping it all and reducing the needs to a humble few.

Have you ever vacationed at a cottage? What was your experience like?

Thanks for reading!

Edmonton Woman Magazine Column

I want to share with you my July/August column:

Alexis Marie Uncensored: Riding High

Edmonton Woman Magazine

The article is about my summer training for the Grizzly Ultra Marathon. I sprained my ankle and worried I wouldn’t be able to race. Advised by my amazing physiotherapist, I took up cycling . What I discovered was a wonderful way to stay fit while also having fun.

The article shares one – slightly embarrassing – incident where I ventured out on a long bike ride to a dinner party and forgot a water bottle!

If you love a funny story, cycling – and wine – I bet you will enjoy this read. 

Disclaimer: I do not advice performing any sport or physical activity while under the influence of alcohol – although a wine buzz is preferable to dying of dehydration… but I will leave that decision up to you.

Happy summer & happy reading!

– Alexis Marie Chute

Edmonton Woman Magazine Cover Alexis Marie Chute July Aug 2015

Edmonton Woman Magazine Alexis Marie Chute Column July Aug 2015

A little bit about Edmonton Woman Magazine:

Edmonton Woman Magazine exists to redefine what it means to be an “exceptional” woman. We consider our publication to be more than just a women’s magazine; it is a source of inspiration, knowledge, and connectivity for the every day woman. Our goal is to share the stories of women in the capital region of Alberta who are changing their lives, families, communities, and cities by pushing the boundaries of what is ordinary. At Edmonton Woman Magazine, we believe that exceptional is far more than wearing the perfect shade of lipstick or sticking to the latest trending diet. To us, it isn’t a word reserved for Fortune 500 CEOs or Hollywood superstars. It is the title of every woman who contributes in her own way to making the world around her a better place. Whether it’s the craft connoisseur mom who keeps her kids engaged in fun, creative pastimes, or the small business owner who keeps customers coming back with smiling service – we believe her story is worth telling. Because as women, nothing motivates us more than the single thought: “If she can do it, maybe I can too!”.

(From EWM website)


 

Check out other articles written by Alexis Marie Chute by clicking here.

If you want to read other Edmonton Woman Alexis Marie Chute column articles, click here.


 

For more pages by Alexis Marie, visit:

Alexis Marie Art

Wanted Chosen Planned

Alexis Marie Chute


A Day in the Life of the Writer

I think people envision writers sitting around in over sized leather armchairs, writing in pen by a dim incandescent light, cigar smoke wafting around in lazy curls. Or maybe the idealized vision includes a reserved seat in a coffee shop where the writer gorges on lattes and people watching, clicking their laptop ferociously as inspiration strikes. Or maybe the writer is traveling in the Sahara. Or scratching notes on a pocket pad of paper as bullets whiz by and the thunder of tanks surround them.

Or the vision of the writer includes the best-seller status. I recently heard an aspiring writer say he wants to write the next Harry Potter series. I chuckled to myself, while wishing the writer all the luck in the world. I did wonder though, what is that person chasing? Is it the long hours of writing, the even longer hours editing and the painstaking process of bringing the book(s) to publication? Or is the writer hungry for the title, the gold stamped cover, the royalty cheques, and the fame?

ALEXIS MARIE CHUTE EDITING WRITING WRITER RED PEN PHOTOGRAPH

 

What does the life of a writer really entail?

There are perks for sure, but the writing life is actually bursting with hard work, rejection and administrative chores that none of those daydreaming about the idealistic writer actually take into account.

I wake up by an alarm and get my kids to school. I make lists of things I need to accomplish – and typically writing is only the half of it. I answer emails and phone calls, and handle the business, legal and insurance needs for all my projects. In my daily life, I do an exorbitant amount of research, planning, strategizing, and networking – all so I can be a writer and do what I love. I work in the evenings. I am always collecting ideas. I dream about my characters or a speech I am to give – until my alarm wakes me up again.

It’s a fabulous life!

The life of the writer is not glamorous… at least not yet from my experience. I’ll let you know if that changes. Like any passion; there are good days and bad days, perks and pitfalls, and sacrifices that need to be made to get to the next level.

If you aspire to be the next J. K. Rowling, good luck to you! (I am not being sarcastic.) Roll up your sleeves and get to work! I look forward to reading your book one day – and sharing mine with you.

Happy writing!

I’m an MFA Graduate!

Graduations are bitter sweet. I loved my two years in the Masters of Fine Art program at Lesley University in Cambridge, MA. I met many wonderful writers, both those that sat beside me in classes and those that taught us – but from all those creative individuals, I have learned a great deal.

I needed a wider-angle to get all the students and faculty into the picture!

I needed a wider-angle to get all the students and faculty into the picture!

It is sad to move on, leaving a fabulous cohort and regular residencies behind. Cambridge was a hub of creativity and vibrated with people and ideas. Yet, it’s the possibilities of the next horizon, so they say, which is wildly exciting.

I am an extremely planned person, so I know my next few steps, but at the same time the possibilities astound me. I’m open for whatever may come next. I’m thinking PhD, new writing assignments and my next memoir, which is already in the works.

Alexis Marie Chute MFA graduation Lesley University 2015

Waiting to give my graduation speech in which I told a story about two characters: Muse and Writer.

 

I’m the kind of person that thrives on activity. I may not be working hard for university classes after this, but I’ll be putting that same determination into whatever is to come. And don’t worry – I’ll keep you posted!

Graduation speech given. Degree received. Now on to the next adventure!

Happy writing, my friends!

Happy Fourth of July!

Happy Fourth of July to all of you American writers! I wish you all a great day of celebrating the country you love to live in. I love to travel to the United States and I really enjoyed my time going to Lesley University in Cambridge Massachusetts. Although I’m going to be finished school this year, I’m sure I’ll be back in the United States a lot in the future.

“Only in America can someone start with nothing and achieve the American Dream. That’s the greatness of this country.”

-Rafael Cruz

4th-Of-July2

I hope inspiration comes your way this Fourth of July!

Happy Writing!

Happy Canada Day!

Happy Canada Day fellow Canadian writers! I wish you all a great day of celebrating this wonderful country we live in. I hope everybody’s ready to pick up some mini Canadian flags and wear your Canada hats! We really do live in an amazing country, and it deserves to be celebrated.

“It is wonderful to feel the grandness of Canada in the raw, not because she is Canada but because she’s something sublime that you were born into, some great rugged power that you are a part of.”

– Emily Carr

canada_day_11

I hope Canada Day brings on inspiration!

Happy Writing!

The Social Media Seesaw for Writers

Social media is a gift for writers who are now able to directly engage with their readers and promote their work. Yet, it can also become a consuming time-suck and addictive distraction from doing the actual work: writing. It is a hard balance, like the pursuit of all “balance” in life, as to where the line is on how much social networking is really too much.

I myself go back and forth on the social media seesaw, feeling some days like it’s a blessing and others like it’s a curse.

Computer

Here is how I manage the double edged sward of social media and get stuff done:

  1. Make lists. I write out everything that is a priority to complete, which often includes a few social responsibilities of my business, such as blogging and twitter. Then I organize myself and my schedule, taking into consideration the most important tasks that need to be done and how much time everything will take. I keep the lists handy to keep myself on track.
  2. I switch off from social networks and focus on the priorities. When I am writing for a magazine or my current book projects or crunching a deadline on whatever I have on the go, I give it my full attention. My phone is my distraction, so I will lock its screen so I can’t log onto social networks, or leave it in another room. It is so important to give whatever you are doing your undivided attention.
  3. Schedule the social. This has been a wonderful timesaver. I write my blogs, schedule when they will be released and on what social networks I wish to share the posts. This keeps me active on all my social platforms every day, even when I am actually being very unsocial and working on my books. Helpful programs like Tweet Deck and Hootsuite are also great at scheduling ahead of time.

Seesaws can be a lot of fun. The same is true with social networks. You may go back and forth on how much you choose to engage those networks, but your presence there is essential. Figure out how to manage the seesaw and you will set yourself up for success.

Encouraging Quotes for Writers

Here are ten quotes by great contemporary writers on topics regarding rejection, writers block, and not just the want, but the need to be writer. These words encourage me and I hope they do the same for you. These quotes will enlighten you to the fact that all of the most successful writers have dealt with and still deal with their fair share of rejection and writers block. However their love of writing never faltered and they never gave up.  All successful writers learned the hard way that getting rejected doesn’t mean you aren’t talented.

Nobody chooses to be a writer because it’s easy! As long as you love the process and take every chance you can to improve, you have the ability to be a great writer.

  quotation-marks

“I was set free because my greatest fear had been realized, and I still had a daughter who I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became a solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”

-J.K. Rowling

 

“With a book I am the writer and I am also the director and I’m all of the actors and I’m the special effects guy and the lighting technician: I’m all of that. So if it’s good or bad, it’s all up to me.”

-George R. R. Martin

 

“By the time I was fourteen the nail in my wall would no longer support the weight of the rejection slips impaled upon it. I replaced the nail with a spike and went on writing.”

-Stephen King

 

“Creativity itself doesn’t care at all about results – the only thing it craves is the process. Learn to love the process and let whatever happens next happen, without fussing too much about it. Work like a monk, or a mule, or some other representative metaphor for diligence. Love the work. Destiny will do what it wants with you, regardless.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert

 

“Writing the last page of the first draft is the most enjoyable moment in writing. It’s one of the most enjoyable moments in life, period.”

-Nicholas Sparks

 

“I just give myself permission to suck. I delete about 90 percent of my first drafts … so it doesn’t really matter much if on a particular day I write beautiful and brilliant prose that will stick in the minds of my readers forever, because there’s a 90 percent chance I’m just gonna delete whatever I write anyway. I find this hugely liberating. I also like to remind myself of something my dad said in [response] to writers’ block: ‘Coal miners don’t get coal miners’ block.’”

-John Green

 

“If I waited for perfection… I would never write a word.”

-Margaret Atwood

 

“As things stand now, I am going to be a writer. I’m not sure that I’m going to be a good one or even a self-supporting one, but until the dark thumb of fate presses me to the dust and says ‘you are nothing’, I will be a writer.”

-Hunter S Thomson

 

“When you’re a writer, you hear your internal critic, and that’s really hard to get over. And then sometimes you hear critiques from classmates and stuff. But when a book comes out, it’s just hundreds of opinions and you have to learn to separate out the ones you want to listen to or figure out many you want to listen to.”

-Veronica Roth

 

“Don’t ever let the other stuff get in the way of your inherent skills as a kick-butt storyteller. Move the reader, make them happy and sad and excited and scared. Make them stare into space after they’ve put the book down, thinking about the tale that’s become a part of them.”

-James Dashner

 

“It’s not easy. I got lots of rejections when I first started out. If you want to write, you have to believe in yourself and not give up. You have to do your best to practice and get better.”

-Rick Riordan