Friday, December 30, 2016

I have to book

Did you have that as slang growing up? Book, as in: get out of here? Hurry, run off? Yes. Anyway every day I say to myself, "I have to book," but it means: go write that book.

It's not so much writing, which I find pretty fun and easy, but restructuring, which is sort of too big and like juggling with my brains. I am not good at it, for sure, even with outlines and things. Oh the complications!

Also I'm still weirdly resisting cutting out this dumb subplot that actually used to be the plot. Like, that was the whole plot. I guess that's why I'm resisting it. But it's maybe 75% gone so now there are just odd jaggedy shards of it poking up through the smooth soil.

I like to pretend that this novel was just especially complicated and mixed up. But probably every rewrite process is just like this. Shhhh, don't tell me.

I have a complete draft except for some patches that need to be inserted, and there's a cemetery scene I'm finding it very difficult to make myself write. I don't even know why. Funerals I have been to: many. Cemeteries I have been to for burials: few. Just my grandmother and one uncle, as far as I can remember. Unfortunately I'm extremely good at not remembering things I don't want to think about, but I'm pretty sure that's all.

I don't mind burials as much as funerals with open caskets, which are NOT COOL and give me the horrors for years afterward. I mean. I don't like seeing dead people at the best of times, but when they're all made up to look alive, that is super upsetting and awful. It was only one grandmother and one uncle I saw in open caskets and I did not appreciate it one bit.

Honestly, what is up with that? Is it so we believe they're really dead? I don't know. I think it's utterly  barbaric.

Anyway in this scene, which I have in my head perfectly well, it's all closed caskets and everything is as antiseptic and WASP-y as you could possibly want. Even though I suppose these people should be Catholic, come to think of it. I've never been to a Catholic funeral, though. Weddings, yes. Well, fine, they're long lapsed Catholics and just go to a funeral director and have a totally non-religious thing.

One thing I do know is that there's no sacrament involved once the person is already dead, so there you go. Unction is for the alive.

Hello, I'm exhausted! I've been working on Book all afternoon and evening. All morning I shoveled, then spent forever in a hot bubble bath reading a Meg Cabot book and drinking tea, then it was bookery all the way. Oh, I washed some dishes, too, while dinner cooked itself. This brain work wipes me out! Though also the heavy labor of shoveling wipes me out. According to my phone, I walked a mile and a half while doing it.

Your options are: stand and throw, or use the sliding scoop shovel. The scoop takes a lot of walking. I do that rather than, you know, get a heart attack and croak. No croaking!

I'm supremely out of shape after three semesters of school. I'm going to make it a huge priority to work out. Not today, because hello, the shoveling. And it's going to snow again tomorrow, whoopee! But after that.

Tomorrow is New Year's eve, which means herring in cream sauce and I don't know what else. I'm trying to clear out the fridge before my trip, so probably it means: all the leftovers. Mmm, I should roast my butternut squashes and potatoes and carrots. Yummy. And then freeze them so I have them when I get home. Excellent idea, me! Let's do that!

I really, really, really love roasted carrots, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. The rest of it I can take or leave, but those three orange veggies, oh boy! SO GOOD.

I'm taking new meds as part of the regularly rotating pharmacopeia cornucopia where they try things, the things don't work, and then they try new things. Whee! Fun times. I'm back taking this as-needed medication that really improves quality of life tremendously. So I wish I'd been taking it all along. But it also zombies me out pretty good. I mean, in a good way. I do stuff? But I can also not do stuff? It's awesome. So that's two new things and the result is fantastic. I feel all normal and stuff.

I'm so tempted to cut my big floppy mop of hair before I go see all my friends, but I'm trying to grow it out, so that's contraindicated for sure. Do not do the thing that is the opposite of the thing you want to do! It's pretty goofy, though. But on the plus side, the pretty copper color really comes through when it gets longer.

My deadline for a complete draft of this book is Monday, so HUP HUP, seriously. I can write the dang funeral scene. And the missing bits. And I can figure out where the last two or three new pieces fit in. And if I'm brave enough and strong enough, I can go through and cut out those last shards of the old plot still sticking up through the substrate. I cut out at least 5000 words just this evening by doing that. Ugh! Ack! Ouch! But it's good. Remove the bad stuff, add in more good stuff. Get to where you need to be. Go go go!

Monday, December 19, 2016

Enter the finishing phase

Oh BOY do I have a hard time finishing projects. I dislike the finishing phase intensely. I don't even know why! Of course it should be good to finish things! What's not to like? But I find it exceedingly difficult and awful and unpleasant.

So that's what I get to do for the next two weeks, whoopee! Finishing a draft of the novel. I'm full of DREAD. I'm just having dread in general today, for no clear reason. Why??? We're entering a two week break starting tomorrow, in which my main (but not only) task is to get this novel finished and all the pieces put into order so that it's a completed (but not final) draft. I also have various and sundry other jobs to get done, but those are normal and not alarming to the depths of my soul like this apparently is.

I may also be getting sick. It's quite likely all of this comes from incipient illness. I can't get warm, even under an electric blanket turned up as high as it will go, even under quilts and blankets and wearing a half inch thick wool sweater. So let's blame all the doom and gloom on that! And the headache and the hurty eyes and everything. Yucky!

I ate all this leftover lasagna so it can't even be that I'm hungry, which is my usual thing to blame when I can't get warm. And I took the dog for a walk, so it's not that I've been sitting still too long, my other go-to thing to blame. Argh!

Anyway. I'm still waiting to hear about my grades for the semester, on December 19th, which makes me very grumpy. I even contacted them this morning to ask what was going on, since last year I heard on November 30th. They said they're putting them into the mail today. As for the content, I have no idea. We shall see.


I bought two things of printer ink so I can get the draft printed out. I'm still considering when it's best to do that. Before or after I figure out where to insert the new material I wrote this fall after my semester of torture finally ended? I don't know. Before? Because wherever it goes, obviously it doesn't go tacked on at the end, where it is now. I just kept adding the new material that I knew I needed, without trying to slot it in where it belonged.

This all makes me want to pull a stack of quilts over my head and expire quietly. I will not be starting until tomorrow, unless I get a surge of energy tonight. (Do not hold your breath.) Tonight I need to finish my niece's sweater, which is down to one cuff and a big wallaby pouch pocket over the tummy where you put both hands. Like on a pullover sweatshirt. What on earth is that called? See, I am not in the right mental space for writing. Because of how I'm too grumpy to function at all. Ha ha. Ooh.

When is Christmas even? Sunday, right?

Maybe I'll make a hot buttered rum next time I emerge from my cocoon of quilts and blankets and see if I can both cheer and warm myself up that way. It's impossible that I'm cold in this warm room under all these blankets and sweaters, but I am. I don't even see how anyone who ate all that lasagna can ever be cold again! Surely the fires of pasta and cheese would warm me from within!

Anyway. Maybe by this time tomorrow I will have accomplished major activity on the finishing front and I'll feel like a million bucks. It could happen! I had a triple flu shot, dammit! I should not even be able to catch the flu! But gosh, I kind of feel like I caught the flu. Noooooooooo!

Saturday, December 3, 2016

All decorated

Okay, not quite done--but I have to hem the kitchen curtains before I put them back up and can't hang those things until that is done.

But I got to do my favorite decorating thing, which is to put up the dangly twinkly lights and then decorate the lights with little blue ornaments, red apples, and silver bells, plus all of my usual Christmas tree ornaments saved up over the years.

I started doing this when I lived in my teeny apartment in Los Angeles. The lights went over the archway between the room and the closet. I said it was teeny!

Anyway doing all that made me very happy, plus I made pesto pizza and it was ridiculously good.

I also decorated my funny tree, which is like a scale model of a gigantic Douglas fir. I have teeny tiny ornaments that I use on that, like miniature ornaments. I love it!

What else did I get done today? I put the basketball hoop into the basement and did a ton of laundry and washed a mountain of dishes. Tested all of the Christmas lights. I seem to have many strings of green-wired lights that go on Christmas trees. Why didn't I get a real tree this year? Besides of course that I've been carless for two weeks. Carless, not careless!

Um, I feel like I did a lot more things than that, but can't figure out what they were. Oh, well, I put up tension rods for the curtains so I could put up the Christmas lights. That was quite a production.

I know, it's thrilling, isn't it?

Do you ever get a moderately rational but also irrational conviction about something? I totally do! I mean they're based in absolutely rational fact, but there's also an element of weird obsession out of nowhere. Isn't that annoying?

Anyway my latest one is a conviction that I'll have to go stay at my mom's house without her in it. Just in a sheer actuarial tables kind of way, it's reasonably likely. But as soon as I thought about it, I was suddenly alarmed at the idea of leaving my house, even though not a week ago I was adamant that I had to get out of here. Ugh, brain, must you? Could you not?

But I realized a new thing, which is: after a year, often you get to go month to month, which would be VERY handy if I needed to go take care of the house in PA and not pay rent while I was not living here. See what I mean?

Also I have this completely irrational terror that my job could disappear, even after two years and no indication of anything of the sort. Best to be able to scram in that case! Maine, man. There is no chance at all that I'd find a good job here. I had a horrible time even finding bad jobs and ended up unemployed and going hungry. I have bad memories of that time, dude.

So once again I'm utterly galvanized to get rid of anything extra and pack up anything that can be packed up. Oh BOY have I ever gotten rid of stuff this year, though. It's amazing. Amazing!

I can't get over the clothes situation. I've been buying J. Jill clothes in my size from Marden's, where the returns and seconds go to get sold for $10 instead of $90 or even more. Gorgeous! Beautiful clothes! Long silky t-shirts, long silk blouses, lovely deep colored long-sleeved t-shirts in heavy luscious fabrics, heavy silky long pants, sleek leggings, silk sweaters, cashmere sweaters. I am not even kidding. They're gigantic and absolutely gorgeous and they FIT ME. So I've gotten rid of all my usual stuff that doesn't even go on me anymore.

I know, so weird, right? Why keep many fezzes full of clothing that a) does not actually even fit me, and b) mostly came from Goodwill or similar sources. GONE.

And all the fabric, been chopping that all up. Other things, just sending them to Goodwill and really enjoying having them be gone FOREVER. I could do more, though. Must do more!

My car has been at the mechanic off and on for two weeks now and he still hasn't started on the thing, so Monday I plan to go swipe it back if he hasn't done anything to it by that point. I'll take it somewhere else. Boy is it annoying, when I was ready to get this done two weeks ago. Jeez.

Here's what I should be doing right now instead of typing things on the internet: knitting my niece's sweater! Making my sister's present! And then getting started on my nephew's sweater! Hup hup! I really seriously need to hurry up. I have the last season of Leverage on, where they're based out of Bridgeport Brewery, where I've actually been to drink beer! Yay! I love when tv and reality overlap!

I'm still in limbo about school, waiting to hear about this semester, which also tells me about next semester. I'm sure everything is fine but then also I'm worried that it isn't, but it'll be a few weeks before I hear for sure. Gaaah! Stressful!

Anyway aside from the crying, which seems to be happening at weird intervals and triggered by who knows what, like some cheerleaders on Leverage today, things are chugging along okay. Work! Writing! Oh, I got done with NaNoWriMo and that was awesome. I'm working super hard on finishing the book. Must finish the book! By the end of this year! Gooooooooo!!!!!