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Archive for August, 2007

First Day

Today was my first day of training for the new part-time job. I very much doubt it’s going to be a very hard or stressful situation, which is very good. I like easy and low-stress. Tomorrow is going to be incredibly boring… I’ve learned most of the essentials for the job, and it really only requires 1/2 of a person dedicated to it, but we’ll have 2 tomorrow (me and the woman who is training me). My trainer is really nice, and usually covers Mondays and Tuesday… but I have to say I’m glad I won’t actually ever be working with her. She has a tendency to fill any silence with some kind of talk, which means I wouldn’t get a thing done. So… probably not much productivity in terms of my own projects tomorrow, but I’ll just deal with that. Thursday and Friday, though, watch out. I’ll be on fire.

So yeah, it’s a decent gig. I should be able to live with it, and hopefully come out ahead. Everyone at the office is really nice. Big challenge will be learning names, especially since I’ll need to know who’s in the building so I can transfer calls to the right place even when someone’s out of the office. That’s about all.

I’m going to go make a baby quilt, because if I don’t do it now it’ll never get done. To the quilt!

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Because sometimes it’s nice to see the list:

  • Laundry, including the tablecloth
  • Cleaned the house
  • Two bike rides, and got the bike tuned
  • Paid all sorts of bills, both monthly and annual (mmm car insurance)
  • Returned a pair of pants that pulled an important seam after 2 wearings
  • Bought new clothes for the upcoming new job
  • Sold Pampered Chef (woo!)
  • Made doctor and dentist appointments
  • Finally did all the paperwork for the car accident back in May
  • Sent Papa a thank you note
  • Verified that our old checking account is, in fact, closed
  • Called Alaska about the mukluks we ordered a few months ago
  • Finally sorted out the whole cell phone debate (i.e. finally found the company with best coverage and price)
  • Wrote (almost) 25 pages of new material for my deadline.

That’s a pretty stinking big list, if I may say so. Of course, in all fairness I should mention that Matt helped with the cleaning and writing the thank you note (which is only fair, since Papa is his grandfather). Some of those have been waiting to get done for weeks or months… I can’t tell you how nice it is to cross them off the list.

And since I’ve done this much, it’s only fair to mention what’s left to do before Monday:

  • Write 2 book reviews
  • Buy CO2 cartridges for the bike repair kit
  • Check with the local bank about which ski pass their promotion involves, so I can:
  • Book a lodge for a week in December so we can go skiing
  • Attend the annual picnic for church youth leaders and their spouses
  • Edit all the material I just wrote, and catch up on all the edits suggested by mentor and crit group last month
  • More laundry
  • Set up the office as guest room for a one-night stopover from the in-laws on their way back east
  • Get ready for the new job… kinda strange, to know I’m going back to “real” work so soon.

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I’ve come to the conclusion that the scene I’ve tried to get through or, perhaps more aptly, get past all month just isn’t going to cooperate. I’ve been reluctant to declare it a temporary lost cause because it’s an important scene, and it needs to be shown.  I haven’t changed my mind about that, but I’m so tired of smashing my head against a brick wall that I’m just going to go around it and come back later to fill in the details.

I am making an Official Decision to move forward. If that means my critique group gets a section this month that says “There will be a scene here where X, Y, and Z happen” then so be it. I have a page count to hit, darn it.

And now it’s time to deactivate my wireless card so I can’t be distracted by silly things like email and blogs. Yesterday’s word count will cower in shame when I’m done with today. Just you wait.

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Bowl Me Over

I read Elizabeth Moon’s The Deed of Paksenarrion all day. At least it’s a required book, and the longest for this term, coming in at 1,014 trade paperback pages, but I feel a little guilty because the only other thing I did was make a fruit salad and work on the laundry.  No bike ride; no writing.

Both of those are at the top of the list for tomorrow. I’m having a TON of trouble moving forward with the novel. Part of the trouble is that I can’t figure out whether I’ve misjudged how things should move forward or whether I’ve already made a wrong turn – if the latter, I can’t figure out where it went bad. Very frustrating, and I’m having trouble pulling out of the black hole of two weeks with invaders in my house. (Really, I do love them all, but two weeks in this apartment is a bit much.)

I have a long list of things that I need to get done. I made it the other night when I couldn’t sleep, and it’s been sitting quite handily out of sight in the office for the two days since. I’m a little worried, actually, because this is acting like the first stages of depression – tons of things to do and no motivation or idea how to start, either in real life or on the writing front.   And my best defense, which was always quilting, is just not going to work this time around. I don’t have enough initiative to plan a project or buy fabric, and I don’t have any projects in limbo to pull out and work on until I get my momentum back. I should probably mention it to Matt. Part of the reason I married him is because he’s good at helping me stay sane.

On a totally unrelated note, a random question from my mom this afternoon made me wonder exactly how many bowls we have in our kitchen. And of course once I started wondering I had to go and check. Keep in mind that this is a household of two, and always has been.  We have 52 bowls – that’s including cereal bowls and salad bowls and serving bowls and food prep bowls. It doesn’t include plastic food storage containers that might double as bowls; or huge latte-style mugs that can be used for any number of bowl things, like soup or ice cream; or other items (cake pans, baking pans, pie plates) that might serve as high-walled food receptacles in a pinch.  Including all of those possibilities, we’re probably looking at more like 90-100 bowl-type items currently in our kitchen. Funny thing is, we use almost all of them pretty regularly…   Is that sad?

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I Have Returned!

I know I sort of dropped off the face of the blogging planet for a while there, but I apologize and I blame visiting parents (two sets of them).

I also realize that it’s been many weeks since I stuck to my once-a-week Name That Novel challenge, and in the end I must confess that there’s little chance of it continuing since my life will only get busier for the foreseeable future.

So, here’s one last hurrah for Name That Novel – which book opens like this? (Chapter 1, not the Prologue):

 Strange thing, time. It weighs most on those who have it least.  Nothing is lighter than being young with the world on your shoulders; it gives you a feeling of possibility so seductive, you know there must be something more important you could be doing than studying for exams.

I can see myself now, the night it all began. I’m lying back on the old red sofa in our dorm room, wrestling with Pavlov and his dogs in my introductory psychology book, wondering why I never fulfilled my science requirement as a freshman like everyone else.A pair of letters sits on the coffee table in front of me, each containing a vision of what I could be doing next year. The night of Good Friday has fallen, cold April in Princeton, New Jersey, and with only a month of college left I’m no different from anyone else in the class of 1999: I’m having trouble getting my mind off the future.

Have fun! I was going to write more, but I just made lunch plans, which means I should really get a shower.

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Fickle Emotion

In perusing my Documents folder today, I came across a file with my thoughts from the middle of the night after a particularly horrible day last fall.  I’d almost forgotten about the incident(s) that this writing responded to – it was something too personal and interconnected with everything in my life to have been posted in an online journal, where it might have a chance of being let out into the open even if it was originally set so that only I could see it.  But I had so much spinning around in my head that night that I needed to get it out, put it down, and step back from it to see what was really going on.

It’s like my own personal pensieve, for all you HP fans.

The funny thing is, as I read through the two pages of writing, I really feel like I’ve fallen into the memory.  I can hear and see things that happened that day as if they were still fresh, and I feel all the emotions I felt then.  I was deeply hurt, from a direction that I’d never expected.  I catch myself worrying about how the other people involved in the incident view the issues at hand now.

I’m anxious and depressed, all because I read something written in the depth of depression and anxiety.

Now, of course, I have to snap out of it and get to work – but I’m amazed anew at the sheer power of words to evoke resonating feeling.

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I really enjoy getting the emails from my critique partners and my mentor every month with their thoughts about my writing.  No really.  I do.  Maybe it’s because the SHU program is geared so that we encourage one another rather than poking holes in perfectly good balloons, but I get excited about constructive feedback from a reader.

That’s not to say that I always agree with everything, or that I don’t have my moments of outrage or feeling like a total failure because I thought I’d conveyed something clearly and it becomes apparent that no one got it.  But I derive great enjoyment from little comments about how someone likes this turn of phrase or thinks that detail was well placed. I find myself challenged to improve rather than being cowed into dejection by the notice of an awkward phrase or – and Scott will haunt me with this forever – flights of whimsy that slipped past my usually ruthless editing cursor, of which I believe “horse thrall” will always be the prime example.

I’m not a goal-oriented person, which seems odd for someone who’s working on publishing novels.  I’m not a competitive person most of the time. I’ve found that it actively detracts from my healthy state of mind – and when my competitive streak does kick in, you’d better watch our because I draw blood.  Yeah, not so good for mental stability. Heck, as long as we’re talking about what kind of person I’m not, we’ll establish that I’m not a people person either.  Oh I talk a good game but when it comes down to the wire my gut reaction to large crowds, especially containing people I don’t know, is to run away screaming.

I’m more of an “I can do better than my last effort” kind of person.  I work well alone, or in a small group of people who I’m confident will all pull their weight as I pull mine.  But oddly enough I don’t often motivate myself to do better, which is why SHU critique groups are so perfect for me.  They give me the little extra kick in the pants I need to keep moving through this novel, improving all the time.

I’m willing and eager to show myself up – as long as someone else can watch me do it.

So, how strange am I?

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