Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘On Life’ Category

Just for Variety…

Since I wrote last Saturday about how the creative muse drops off the face of my brain by 2pm (hah! I don’t even know how many mixed metaphors I got in there), I find it necessary to explain that there is a significant exception to that rule, and that is that on Wednesday evenings when I tag along with Matt to the church building while he helps run youth group, when I can hole myself up in the youth min office, I’ve had some of the more productive writing sessions of my writing career.

Given, most of the time I don’t write earlier in the day on Wednesdays, for one reason or another, but it is exceedingly odd.

Also, the car alarm has taken up its old hobby of going off for no discernible reason.  Excitement, excitement.  Actually, so far it’s been related to the almost dying in Kansas incident a year ago, but we thought we’d taken care of the last bit of problem back in June.  *sigh*

In other big news, our house is for sale.

No, we don’t own a house.

But we take lots of walks through nearby neighborhoods, and we have a few favorites, and the one we always walk past and say “yeah, if that one actually had a yard, we’d really really like it” is officially for sale.  And since we’re curious little buggers, we took a flyer from their box and it turns out there is actually a decent back yard.  Better than we thought there was, anyway, and all enclosed, which is nice in its own way.  Of course, we promptly looked it up on ReMax (I think this link should take you there) and found out that we have incredible taste.  It’s a bargain at only $910,000!  Hahaha.  Ah, but it’s fun to window shop.  I haven’t got a clue what I’d do with a house like that.  If I’m gonna have that much space, I want a real, old-fashioned farm house.

Anyway, still 300 words left to meet my daily word count goal (300? A trifle!) so it’s off to write, off to write…

Read Full Post »

Early Morning

I have to say that I feel a little bit nuts for being awake at 6:40 on a Saturday morning – and I feel even crazier for having been awake for an hour already.

Ostensibly, there are three reasons for this.  The first is that throughout the summer my sleep schedule slipped farther and farther toward “bed at 1am, wake at 9”, which is lovely for late-night reading (nothing like finishing a book in the middle of the night and sneaking into bed) but horrible for my productivity.  My brain begins its shut-down process for creative endeavors at about noon, and by 2pm I’m usually toast if I’m trying to write.  If it’s a really good day I might last until 4.  This is regardless of what time I start working.  I’m not saying I can’t work on creative projects (like quilts or editing) after that time, but the designing or creating bug just goes to sleep.  I can continue projects in process, but have a hard time coming up with new material.

So if I wake up at 9, by the time I’ve eaten and dressed and done everything else that needs to get done before I get to work, I have maybe four or five hours of productive creative time.  That just doesn’t cut it.

Also, I have to be at my day job by 7:45am, which conflicts with sleeping until 9.  And I do best waking up at roughly the same time every morning.  It’s annoying, but I’ve tried all sorts of things and I just work best on a regular sleep schedule.  So.  Here I am at 6:45 on a Saturday morning, awake for my own good even though my body says “Please, please let me go back to sleep!”

Oh, and I missed the required SHU chat session on Tuesday night, so I’m waiting for 7am to log in this morning and talk to someone about something.  I’ve never actually done one of the make-up chats, so I have no idea how many people might be there.  Lucky east-coasters get to make up their chat at 9am, but that means 7am out here.  I’m betting pretty much none of the west coast people ever miss a Tuesday night chat, just so they don’t have to get up at 6am to make it up.

And since I’ve officially slipped into rambling, I think it’s time to go make me some breakfast and tea before the chat.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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?

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

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?

Read Full Post »

Today’s a Writing Day. I can feel it in my bones. I woke up at 3:30 and almost got out of bed to start writing because I felt wide awake and wanted to write. Most days it wouldn’t have mattered much, but I actually have to be somewhere at 9am, and I can’t miss that, so I went back to sleep.

The trouble with that is that even Writing Days can become Brewing Days or Nothing Days simply because the opportunity isn’t seized – and I have to leave for my appointment in half an hour, which means I have to do something to keep the Writing Day mentality.

I was going to wake up this morning and go for a bike ride but it was rainy, so I couldn’t. Also, I only got about half the laundry done yesterday, though in my defense there’s an awful lot of it since Matt was away at camp with youth groupers all week. He cut the sleeves off one of his t-shirts and it got covered in mustard. Please don’t ask – these things happen at camp. Apparently it was for a skit.

All of this is to say that I’m going to get Matt to clean the kitchen (it’s all his mess anyway) and think writerly thoughts until 10:30 when I’ll be able to start writing on the novel for today.

One final note: I spent part of last week on Lake Michigan, and I took some really amazing pictures while I was there. Here’s one of my favorites:

Sunset at Epworth

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »