Friday, October 6, 2017

Unbearable quantities of work to do

Yes! There is too much to do this weekend. But I will get it done because I HAVE to get it done by Sunday night. But it might be kind of brutal, y'all. I've been zombified all week due to stress from this thing today, to the point where I've been taking backup no nightmares drug #1 in a half dose for the past three nights, then a full Xanax last night. Anyway the result is sleeeepy all day so I'm way behind on my work and now ack ack ack, it's due soon. It's due!

 I had the dumbest saga of internet and television. How long did I have tv? Two weeks? One week? When I got tv, I had a hellish entire weekend of struggling to make it work. Then the internet was so bad and kept cutting out so I decided to get phone internet. But then it was terribly unworkable and so I had to get rid of that, too, and so I got rid of tv also.

The upshot is I'm right back where I started after a lot of headaches and like five hours on the phone with various people who could not fix things. GOOD TIMES.

I finally got a computer that works with a wide enough screen for the stubbornly super wide website for my work, so I don't have to scroll left and right literally hundreds of times to do my work.

It is VERY wide and large in the screen and makes me feel like a moth bonking my face against a lightbulb. But I don't have to scroll left and right all flipping day long, so yay! And I finally got Chrome downloaded for the fifth time and it seems to be working and all.

At first it wouldn't do anything but would just crash immediately. Then it took a minute to crash but wouldn't do anything until then. Blah blah blah!

Is there anything more frustrating and boring than dealing with this sort of thing? Tech issues! UGH!

I ate my supper of chicken and dumplings soup out of a can cold while I was dealing with it. So basically I am super done with today.

I like how these days computers don't have disk drives and so when you buy software it comes on a card with a code and then boom, you download that and you have Office.

Guess what, I went swimming three times and my swimsuits are all TOO BIG already. But then Target had a lot of swim tops on the sale rack and so hurray! I can't get a one piece suit because if the top fits, the bottom is way too loose, and vice versa. So I am VERY happy that there are these pants and tops kind of things with swimsuits. So great.

Swimming, mmmmm. I suspect I will enjoy it more when my top is not trying to float away right off of me. Though maybe I can take those too big suit tops in a bit and shorten up the straps.

I keep thinking of Bridget Jones and her sadly deflated cleavage. Dude, deflation is okay by me! Overall deflation is kind of the goal here in general. Good good good.

Come to think of it, the shorts are kind of loose already too.

Anyway I got some more. Swimmy swimmy swim swim.

The other thing about swimsuits is: they get wet. And then when I want it again two days later, it's still wet. I know you can officially put a damp suit on, but grossssssssss. Noooooooo.

Dang, I forgot to get a YMCA hair dryer at Target. I'm gonna need one.

These are the exciting travails going down around here.

If I can dig out from under the massive pile of work I am very excited for the writing this weekend. The things to write. Writing the books! Yes.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Apparently we need weekends

I worked half of Saturday and then the prospect of doing all the rest of that work the whole entire weekend long, with no down time, totally depressed me, and so I stopped. Well, I'm not alert enough to realize things like that at the time. I figured it out after. At the time I just got really really down and slowed to a stop and didn't want to do anything at all. I worked on a puzzle and listened to MBMBaM podcasts the rest of the weekend, until I had to work again Sunday night.

It would have been a lot more fun if I'd said, "Hey, I don't want to work all weekend. I want to do fun things instead!" And then had planned fun things to do.

As it was, I did get the tv programmed to record some English soccer, so that was great, and I watched the new Star Trek show premiere, but now I'm flummoxed because it's not going to be on tv, apparently? It's on some streaming thing? Can I put that on my tv? Probably, because my tv is one of those smart ones, so I'll try to figure that out when I get more energy. Soon, I suspect, because I want to see it. But not soon, because holy crap, that work did not go away!

Today I've been dawdling about the work also. It's not like me to procrastinate! I don't do that anymore. In fact I did a ton of it yesterday.

You know what it is? If I put on the podcast, then turning it off means those fun boys disappear and stop entertaining me with their chatter! It's so quiet once they're gone! All I can think is: I want the fun boys back!

So I have to remember not to play that until I'm done for the day, for sure.

Still no news on the sudden fame and wealth front. Really I should send more queries today. I also thought I might look up the time frames they say they will answer within (some say they will not answer unless they're interested) so that I know when to worry.

I'm pretty positive that my deep down dive into misery from about Thursday to Sunday came from sending those queries out. I did the thing! Why did I not get the benefit from the thing? Woe!

Some other maladaptive coping mechanism got tired of not having a pan of chicken enchiladas in the fridge (stands for ready and delicious food I can reheat) and so I went out and bought sandwich makings. So now I can have easy fast meals, is the thing. I was getting crazy hungry for a while there.

Maladaptive because I can't really eat bread. It's not for me.

Today when I went back to get lettuce for sandwiches, I also mysteriously bought a two-liter bottle of Sunkist orange soda. What? Why? It looked so good! I cannot really explain.

And I got a great big container of blue raspberry lemonade Kool Aid mix, not for drinking, but for dyeing some dresses. I'm not entirely sure it's going to work out well, but we shall see. I have two white dresses that need to be Not White anymore. I suspect they will not be white after this. The internet is vague on whether you can dye linen with Kool Aid, but it works extremely well on cotton and wool. Again, we shall see.

I'm pretty sure they will be some color, at least, even if it's faint. I mean, if I spilled blue Kool Aid on my linen dress, that would surely stain the hell out of it. So there you go.

The blue I got might not be purple enough, so I might have to mix in some cake decorating dye, or I guess some red, come to think of it. I think this blue is sort of a bright ice blue.

What are they doing, putting colors like that in food? (she said, drinking neon orange soda....)

Ugh, bread, why? My stomach immediately swells up. Like immediately. It's not good.

Anyway last night I got up and exercised so that's very good. Jeez, I'm sleeping less and less. I have to watch that because it can be a sign of some swooping brain chemicals. But brain chemistry is exactly why I made myself exercise. Spicy food also makes your brain release more of the good stuff. Look out for lots of exercise and spicy food in upcoming days and weeks.

So anyway. BACK TO WORK with me.

What I need to do, in addition to eating lots of popcorn with cayenne pepper, watching English soccer with outrageously fit dudes dashing about totally determined, and exercising, is READ BOOKS. This always happens when reading is my job. I avoid reading that isn't my job. Must put more books in my face, or watch movies, or something. I think I'm starved for non-work fiction.

Right! Back to work. As we said. Go!

Saturday, September 23, 2017

What is a "weekend"?

I'm staring down the barrel of a LOT of work. Well, it's not that much work. And I already did a block of it. Two blocks of it. But the rest, ah! So much, and not thrilling? But also not immediately crucially urgent or anything, so maybe I can push it at least a day.

There, I rationalized that really well. Nice job, me!

I'm doing laundry while completing all those major blocks of work. See how it already feels like what I've done is bigger than it was a moment ago? The power of rationalization!

This morning I made eggs and grits and ate them all up. I feel like that should give me MIGHTY POWER for the rest of today. But in fact I was up super late (for me lately) and woke up at the same time anyway, even with the alarm turned off. Gah! I was awake at 6:00. Thrilling.

So instead of getting more sleep, I ended up getting much less sleep. Nice job, me! Wait, no.

Last evening after dog walk I decided to jump in and write the book that I dreamed about the night before. I dreamed about actually writing it, like typing the words, and I knew what the words were and made edits and things, and then woke up with it still very clear and vivid in my head. It's a sort of ancient fantasy except with no actual fantasy. So like about social structures on a city and empire level? Give me prehistoric social structure fantasy any time!

It is thrilling being me!

So last evening I sat in the big red office chair and wrote nine thousand plus words of that book. Only there's all this unusable stuff in it, but still! The rest is awesome. I can see and feel and understand this place and the character who is growing up and changing from one place to another and another, moving through the different areas of the city and only then learning the stages of its life.

I sat still for like five hours writing that. Four and a half? It got dark all around me and the dog totally lost patience with me by the end. I had to get up and stagger to the bathroom in the pitch dark by the light of my laptop screen. Also being dehydrated really helped enable my writing binge because I didn't have to stop sooner than that, despite my cup of tea. Dehydrated!

Right now I'm far too cold and shivery even though it's going to be 84 today, because it's super cold in here right now. So let's go do some housework and/or yard work and then come back and write much more of the book! Not that book. The other book I just started. The one about the miserable PTSD stormchaser-widowed constant runaway RV-having adjunct who investigates a murder on campus!

Must do that. But first, very cold. In sweater, on hot day, because indoors. Go mow the grass!!!

Wednesday, September 20, 2017


Every time I type the word query I type querty and then we're back to qwertyuiop. This is what happens when you learned touch-typing at an early age.

Anyway query! I wrote my dang query eight million times and then finally got it to a good place yesterday. And then! Sent it off to two choice agents! Today I sent it to two more!

In a shocking turn of events, I have not yet been showered with negotiable currency and offers of twelve-book deals. But I'm sure their email boxes are pretty full.

I give it a week.


Maybe two.

I think one of them promised to respond within two weeks, one within eight, and so on. I did not keep track, but I DO have a spreadsheet telling me who got queried on which day and which agency they're from. Because I have no memory and don't want to screw up by doubling up.


That was huge. And every time I research a new person and write a new version of the letter for them and get ready to send it out, I'm completely squirming and sweating with anxiety and stress, to the point where people were looking at me. I'm like wringing my hands and muttering and looking crazed.


So that's four out. I guess I'll try to send two a day every day? If it doesn't make me into an insane person. I'm hoping that I'll get SIGNED soon so that I can quit.

The excellent side effect of this is that I'm absolutely raring to get the twins book finished and sorted out and fixed up and DONE and then I'll have a lovely YA ready to query and send out. This New Adult thing is sort of odd and borderline, especially since I'm nearly always a YA writer.

It's bananas to start out with a non-standard novel, but oh well. It's the best one and it's ready to go.

I'm frantic about my twins novel because it has so many issues and I want to fix them all RIGHT NOW but there's this pesky angle where I have work and things to plan and prep and present and all that kind of stuff. Work!

I love the work, but it's distracting, you know? To be going back and forth. At least I can stop writing this dang query though. That's one big thing off the table. Hurray!

BOOK. I have to find a way to tell myself, "Self, this is the time to spend on this book. Do not think about work. You already did that. It's ready. It's done. You are off the hook with that. FOCUS ON THE BOOK."

That's my biggest challenge these days, with the fragmented attention.

You know what I really liked? WRITING FULL TIME. That was the BEST. It was a huge pleasure and I just did it and I loved it and the writing was amazing because of it.

That is why people become full time writers.

So I want to do that. Okay? Let's do that. Sign me, agents. Sell my book. Get me buckets of the cash. Take away all the other distractions. And I am a book-writing machine of happiness.

I have pink grapefruit juice, too, because I got totally sick and have a buzzing nasty bees' nest in my chest, all inflammation and asthma and pointless coughing and misery. If all goes well, it won't turn into bronchitis or pneumonia or any of that nonsense. But, pink grapefruit juice!

This is how I am: I couldn't remember if any of my meds meant I couldn't drink grapefruit juice, so I asked the pharmacist and she checked my records and then I went and bought pink grapefruit juice. It turns out I *used* to take something where it wasn't allowed. So it was good that I checked.

Anyway. BOOK TO WRITE. Aside from dog walk and feeding the cat, this is all I have to do until bedtime, so let's make it count, eh? Yes!

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The sun's going down

I'm about to turn into a pumpkin, so I have to hurry.

I go to bed at sunset now because I have to get up at six. It's a whole time zone switch for me. Or like six time zones. I moved to Estonia, basically, while staying here at home.

It's nice in Estonia! Stress levels have plummeted. My blood pressure is low even for me. Like, lower than they like it to be. And I never eat anything. It's a whole turnaround kind of thing. Since I started back at the bricks and mortar, I've been dropping weight like nobody's business. Kind of cool.

I'm struggling to finish Summerlands, the book about the twins, but also fighting hard with the query letter for Landslide, so there are two headaches I'm having at the same time, in the time allotted for headaches, which is to say: NOT MUCH.

Because I'm fully booked with the work, boy oh boy. It takes up a lot of time. And energy. Both, actually.

I'm also fighting hard not to let the real world get away from me like it did for the first two weeks, like the lawn mowing and dish washing and stuff. I still need to vacuum. I just never vacuum, when I ought to do it religiously. I guess I vacuum the way other people do religion. Twice a year, at Easter and Christmas, whether I need to or not.

The great part of work is I get to read all kinds of wonderful things and hang out with smart people and talk about books and stories all day long. I mean, dream work! It's all good! It's just a lot and I'm still getting used to how much it is. Oof!

Book writing is suffering for sure. Must get back into a thousand or two thousand words a day without fail. I was doing it up until about Monday when I realized I was deep in over my head. Also last weekend I had niece's birthday so I was out of the house for like seven or eight hours Saturday, which did not help with the mountain of work I had to do, and then I went out again Sunday to intervene in her musical instrument selection for band, which she had due for Monday. I didn't want her to play saxophone, for no clearly defined reason. Instead, I took over my French horn and let her play with it, and play it.

First of all, she's a natural. She played it better in the first five minutes that I've played it since I got it. She started playing SONGS when she barely knew which hand went where. So that's amazing and terrifying and wonderful. Go niece!

I left it there. I think she should play French horn if she wants to play French horn. We didn't discuss like if she's keeping it or borrowing it or what. There is plenty of time for that later. It's not like I've been playing the thing.

Plus she LOVES it the way you should absolutely love your beautiful brass instrument! I loved my baritone the same way. Just adored its glossy brass and smooth curves and complex valve mechanism. Beautiful.

I'm working up a new book idea full of lost plane crashes, trailrunning, divorced parents who want to hear about each other, incompatible household demands, borders, boundaries, land and sea, land and air, sea and sky, Maine and Canada, things you do that you can never do again, first times, last times, only times, missed chances, and migratory waterfowl. Among other things. Also who other people see when they look at us and whether that's on us at all.

It's in the planning stages is what I'm saying.

But that's okay because I have like 13k still to write of Summerlands. It keeps wanting to veer into this territory that does not work for me. Then I avoid it out of awkwardness. Then I come back and delete that stuff out and start going again. Must keep a firm hand on the steering wheel! That route is not productive!

The hardest part, oddly enough, is writing about their filmmaking, even though I've totally done that. It's hard to write about somehow.

Well. I will keep at it. The only way writing gets done is if you write.

Also flipping NaNoWriMo is coming up in November, six weeks away. Not sure what I'm going to do for that, but maybe the borderlands one. I don't know. I'll for sure have to start sooner than that. But I can always just start a new file and word count for November.

Query letters, man. I'm trying to rethink this terrible one in terms of character and conflict. That seems to help.

And the sun is sinking fast. So am I. Sleepy. Off to bed.

Monday, July 31, 2017



I dread the heat. It's already going to be in the mid or high 80s all week and I'm not really down for that at all. HOT. Do not like!

I'm nearly done with all of the training and paperwork and stuff for fall. Eesh. It's been a whole day of this kind of thing. I mean, I made that happen. I decided to do it all at once because stuff like that sucks and so I wanted to limit it all to one day. It's nearly done, but there's one more big project I have to do.

Then it's back to Booksville for me. So close to completing the draft of this book. I'm close enough that I'm reading the home renovation book for the next one that I want to fix and finish.

Completing a first draft is awesome but it isn't a finished book. There are stages.

1. Finish the book.
2. Make the book make sense.
3. And then make the book awesome.

You really, really, really, really have to complete step one before you even think about going on to the next steps, or you will never ever complete step one.

At least when you're me.

Maybe I can go on and finish the draft tonight, though. I went out of town over the weekend and got super flipping exhausted swimming in lakes and pushing a giant floating raft out into the lake while swimming and then treading water and rotating and relocating the giant floating raft. And then I got to stay awake most of the night because my arms and shoulders utterly freaked out and kept on going numb and waking me up.

Wake up! say my shoulders. Wake up, because we're asleep! Switch!

So I've been stretching and whatnot to try to restore human functioning to my physical self. And hopefully make it so that the next time I do an actual thing it doesn't render me dysfunctional in the physicality the way it always does these days. Hike up a mountain? Busted foot for two weeks! Push a raft with swimming legs? No more shoulders! Also I oughta get back on the trampoline and all that like I was when Perfect Dog-man Boyfriend inspired me from Jupiter Ascending.

My niece had my phone and was looking through all my pictures, most of which are so very boring, trees and rocks and my dog and cat. But then she found one of Perfect Dog-man Boyfriend and said, "Who's that?" And I had to explain that he's half wolf or whatever and flies around on space rollerblades and he's super loyal and protects his person and all that.

She totally got it.

I tend to save pictures of anything I like. A corgi dressed as Thor! A bunny dressed as Sherlock Holmes! A cool tiny house! Some stripy rocks! I think those are the ones she was looking for.

Yep, life sure is exciting! I liked swimming in the lake with the kids for sure. But the rest of the time it's sitting at the desk and writing things all day long. Whee!

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

I would stab this novel but it might still not die

I'm fighting this book and it's fighting back hard. I've done SO MUCH WORK but that doesn't matter. I mean I have to say that to students all the time. "But I worked so hard on this!" Yes, but it's still terrible. As is this book!

It has major logic problems because it started out as a genre/mystery and I took that out and replaced it with this property thing and that sucks so I've been undercutting that and now it's just these two big mysteries that our main character should have figured out years ago but has to stumble backwards into while freaking out over twenty-one other major crises.

Okay, that's not so bad. I mean I like that kind of story. Fine! It's okay.

It's not DONE though. Instead of writing it right now, I'm doing this! Hahahahaha! Oooh. Because I'm listening to some old MBMBAM episode with Lin-Manuel Miranda before he even put Hamilton out there. In other words: procrastination!

I have a list of scenes I need to write. I'm just going to write them. And then there's a couple of long talky sections that make me want to slam my head in a drawer, but instead I'll just sum them up in my mind and cut them out and rewrite them from scratch. That's what you have to do pretty much.

Must not ooze over to this terrific 30k draft and work on that instead...noooooo!

Must say to self: "Self, go write the damn book. Just write one of those stupid scenes. Then go punch the speed bag for a while. Then come back and write another one of those stupid scenes."

Don't wanna! It's so weird, I don't even know why. It's not that I'm avoiding work. I went through this entire book multiple times day after day fixing major things, like doing a pass to remove the mystery plot and doing a pass to change this one character from one thing to another, and another pass to remove these other dudes and a subplot, and another one to completely change and massage the shape of the relationship arc. SO MANY MORE PASSES NEEDED.

It's just so much better to write a book straight through in a row without pretzeling yourself into an infinity shape where you have to keep going around and around and over and over everything.

This isn't even about making it GOOD yet. This is all about making it hang together and make sense. UGH.

I just really prefer telling a story in a straight line, where someone makes a choice and that has consequences and then they make more choices to deal with the consequences and that causes more consequences and so on until boom!

I've noticed that someone I like to have books and stories end with someone very high up. Like, physically high up. It's kind of a funny thing to discover. One ended up on top of a tall building in Burbank. One had someone climb a mountain, get taken off in a helicopter, then land on the roof of a hospital. Hard to get higher up than that. Maybe a balloon or plane or spacecraft.

I'm feeling a PROFOUND pull toward space opera after soaking in and delighting in Jupiter Ascending and being reminded that my favorite thing is space opera. I live for Farscape, dude! And I have this whole series of books that are space opera! I think I wrote two complete ones and then half of three others.

Just thinking about tackling rewrites of those antiques makes me want to lie down with the covers pulled over my head.

Whereas thinking about writing fun new space opera makes me tired but also happy?

Anyway I'm all wobbly and boneless today again because I took one of my prescription non-freakout pills per night for the past three nights. I'm going to have to quit taking them because I have gotten slightly more than zero writing done since I started. Sure, they allow me to sleep, and I'm all mellow and happy and sleepy and dopey, but I have things to do, dude! Time is slipping away! Work starts in a month and I have meetings coming up for both places I'm working, online and real world.

I'm already pretty happy about all of the work I've gotten done in this middle time. I mean, I wrote a whole novel that I'm pleased with. That's fantastic. But I judge my days by how much I get done and I'm getting nothing done.

That's not quite true. A couple of days ago I got utterly fed up with the stupid metal bed frame. I haven't been sleeping well on that bed, even buttressed with bookcases, so I took apart the day bed that pulls out to be queen sized from its resting twin size (Hemnes daybed at Ikea if you're curious) and brought it back into the bedroom and moved the metal frame/feet back to the guest/writing room, and it was all brutally hard work and my back is killing me.

And THEN I discovered that the new mattress is much heavier and made the slats sag, so I had to buy a bunkie board and do all this surgery on it. I had to take apart one end and saw the boards and shorten it and then reassemble the end and staplegun the covering back on. It was kind of brutal. It fits exactly perfectly now, though, and the bed is fabulously, gloriously comfortable and secure feeling.

It's hard to explain what was wrong with it before. It was a mattress on a bed frame. Like normal. I mean. It's just a bed. But it was too high and too narrow and too scary and then when I buttressed with bookcases it was too closed in and too stifling, and I hated having my back to the doorway. I kept feeling like someone was standing there. I had to take down my bathrobe that usually hangs over the door because I thought it was someone, even though that robe has been hanging there for fifteen months.

So I moved the bed 90 degrees, back under the eaves, and put it on the old daybed, which is much wider than the mattress, so I have a headboard, and walls at both sides of the head, and extra space to the side, so dog doesn't feel like he has to cram himself against me all night or risk falling off.

In other words, I probably don't need the anti-freakout pills anymore. I'm supposed to take 1-2 every night as needed but I would be just a puddle on the floor if I did that.

I'm just hoping that there's enough air flow under the eaves when it heats up again. That's why I moved it out in the first place. But oh boy is it ever louder by the door! Something about the angle to the window, I guess? The road noise was unbearable. It hasn't gotten any quieter but it bothers me much less under the eaves.

Someone is doing construction maybe a half mile directly in front of me as I sit at my desk. Speaking of loud intrusive noises. I cannot wait until I'm able to live in my very own house in a quiet place. I'll just peacefully fantasize about moving over there by loading up my trailer each day and driving over and unloading it. Mmmmm. Yes, very nice. Ooh, it's a good triangular house.

Now I want to make weird animal heads out of metal and weird stuff to hang up like those mounted deer heads. That would be AWESOME. Fun art project for me, eh? Like my ongoing lamp-making situation.

There's a cardinal outside! I haven't seen one of those here before. Look out for the bobcat, cardinal! Though the barred owl has been eating all the little critters, so maybe the bobcat has relocated to easier hunting grounds. Twice in the past week the barred owl has swooped down right outside my office window at night to eat the mice that run between the woods and the house, scaring the heck out of me both times. First there's a rush of ammonia out of nowhere, then there's some sudden loud hooting that seems to be coming from inside the room. Gaaaaaah!

Some mourning doves were doing something in the yard when we went out today, too. Or possibly that neighbor cat was messing with them? I don't know. We went out, there was a ruckus on the ground, two birds flew away, and the dog went crazy running around and sniffing everything. Could also have been a hawk that had caught one of the mourning doves, though they seem big for a hawk. I heard them calling after, though. The mourning doves, not the hawk.

Isn't life just scintillating around here? I know! I also moved a round rug from one room to the other!

It's okay, the more writing I'm doing, the less interesting life is, so it's all a good sign. And I keep completely forgetting to drink my tea! And then it gets cold! Can you imagine? Dude.

I looked at too many timber framed A-frame designs and I can tell you this: they are all badly proportioned. The ceilings are far too high. The rooms will be uncomfortable to sit in, like you're in the bottom of a bucket. And definitely they'll be drafty and impossible to heat. We don't normally hang around in rooms with twenty foot ceilings for a reason, especially in colder climates.

I'm so sore from heaving that mattress all over creation (off the frame, from bedroom to writing room and back to bedroom, on the frame, off the frame, back on the frame) that I can hardly put my hands on the keyboard, which might be another factor in the non-writing. Though I sure managed to drivel on here forever, huh?

Fine. ONE SCENE. I'm on it.

Saturday, July 15, 2017


Oof! I'm so tired! I'm tired deep down. I finished the first draft of my novel yesterday, 75k words in two weeks and two days, which explains why I'm flipping EXHAUSTED. That also includes two major road trips to farflung ends of Maine and one day off, last Sunday.

I am wrecked.

But! I'm very happy to have finished the draft. I have a lot of work to do still, obviously--it's just a first draft. I need to go back and flesh out my main character much more, especially in the beginning, and make sure that fundamental drive is there. You know, the one that will make the whole thing go? And there's a part I need to swap out, but I know what needs to go in there. I might do that today while it's fresh in my mind.

I am thrilled to discover I can do this quickly once I have the essentials in my mind. Ugh, all the rewriting is such a slog! It's all I've done for ages!

So here is how to do it:

1. Main character must have a huge drive toward a goal and no way to attain it.
2. Main character must have AGENCY in what she does and cause what happens to her.
3. Dominoes. Everything has to cause the next thing. Even if that is a revelation of new information.

Agency, goal, dominoes.

I don't know if I learned this at school, but I certainly learned it during school. I'm not sure what exactly I learned at school, which is not to say I didn't learn anything, just that it's so well assimilated that I don't know what it is anymore. Bluh? No idea. I could go back and read all my notes from all the craft talks and that would tell me.

Honestly I think I learned the most from studying all the books closely. What did they do and how and why and what worked and what didn't? Write that down and articulate it clearly and learn from it.

In my final review thing, in the little fishbowl room, one thing I said as far as goals was that I wanted to figure out whether all my old drafts were worth fighting with or whether I should just write new things. I think both! But the boggy nature of old drafts is exhausting, as is writing new ones. Basically I'm just worn out by all of this! But that's because I'm doing eight or ten hours a day of writing some days. Some days two. Yesterday I did a lot.

Also the parts based on reality can pretty well suck. I think it's because I'm thinking about that and not about storytelling. It starts to read like somebody's boring hiking blog. I'm not sure how to integrate that stuff into real writing. I mean, when you're out somewhere, say driving from point A to point B, you're not really thinking primarily about that drive. You're all wrapped up in your inner thoughts and what's going on in your life. The drive is such a distant fourth or fifth or twentieth in importance in that scene. It's like writing descriptions of the inside of the car. Yes, it's there, but NOBODY CARES.

In other words, nobody cares about the scenery or any of the technical aspects of things except as they pertain to the story. So the last block of writing needs to get that part fixed. If it's not relevant to the story, leave it the heck out. I think I'm trying to be true to the scene or something.

That said, I don't want to say it's a desert when it's a forest or whatever. I'm glad I went on those trips. Ugh, Flagstaff Lake! I need it so much! I didn't get to use it at all!

There's an excellent awful historical bullying thing uncovered in the book. I find it exceedingly compelling. One of the things about being this character's age (18 and not going to college) is that you start to find out that adults have these stupid ugly pasts that nobody told you about and you've been going around treating them like solid reliable people all this time. Which makes you feel like you've been duped.

I like watching someone find out that adults are just people who are trying to act like adults and be responsible. They don't know until they know! It's one of the big turning points of that age.

Oh! I also have to rewrite to change the track of these other kids who really screw things up. I was suddenly remembering only yesterday about these freshman girls I went to college with. I was about six years older I think? Because I had left and come back. And they just suddenly discovered around Halloween (they were 18) that they had these bodies that would get them a lot of attention. It was gross and upsetting to me at the time, and I told them so, to see them suddenly objectifying themselves and using that to manipulate people. I kept saying, "You're a person!" and things like that. They didn't get it. I couldn't explain it. We had a whole conversation that I remember in the dorm. And then they went on running around half naked and enjoying how it made everyone jump.

It's such an odd thing. I think it's been nagging at me since then, since 1991. There are lots of articles out there about this now, about these girls that age who go and take off their clothes in public. It's so interesting psychologically, because it means one thing to them, various forms of empowerment and whatnot, but it means something else entirely to the ravening hordes who watch them, and there are all these other consequences. Like my old neighbor who was in one of those gone wild videos and whenever employers Google her, that's what comes up, so she doesn't get the job. Anyway I've been reading the articles to try to figure out this other character, not the main one. Her friend.

There are so many different ways of acting out to test the waters of adult life.

I really enjoyed the challenge of writing this draft, oh boy! I had it figured out in my head (and written down) beforehand, the outline of it in general, though that changed and I ended it before the point where I had planned to end it.

Really it was all about sticking to the chair for the requisite hours per day. If you put me in a comfortable chair in front of a laptop every day, you will get a book, apparently. This chair! What a great thing it is. With its ridiculous sporty race car wheels. And it's red. Red! And so comfortable. Made by Sealy, the mattress people. It came with a little block of the foam padding with their name on top in case I ever forget. I keep it on the desk and squeeze it and watch it reinflate, like a stress ball.

Between my awesome chair and the loss of my job and the habit my job gave me of coming to sit in this chair in this office every day for many hours without fail, it seems I have a system figured out.

There's finishing a first draft, and finishing a book completely, though. That's the next step. HUP HUP.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Sky rollerblading loyal wolfman boyfriend for the win

I watched Jupiter Jones on the fourth to help the animals not freak out from fireworks. It worked very well! But also: OH BOY!!!

I would strongly advise you to see this movie before reading any further, because I'm probably going to spoil the heck out of it.

First of all, Jupiter herself is a terrific heroine, a fish out of water who adapts and figures things out and overcomes. The Wachowskis said they always start with Dorothy in Oz, and that makes perfect sense. Jupiter is Dorothy in Oz for sure.

But Toto is a six foot one inch utterly gorgeous wolf/human hybrid shaped like Channing Tatum, which is to say, he moves in this wonderful way. Like a dancer, I guess. He's a dancer, isn't he? This guy knows how to move. You can't take your eyes off him.

So then he's on these sky rollerblades and flying spaceships and having shootouts and beating up dinosaurs, and he keeps on crashing in and saving Jupiter from situations where the evil jerks have been lying to her and she's doing exactly the right thing except it turns out she's not because they lied. Ah!

She beats up the last guy herself. It's utterly awesome.

Also she falls out of the sky about a million times. This is such a vertical movie!

There are all kinds of fabulous aliens and in the end, Jupiter herself saves the world. And then Caine, the wolf guy, saves her. He keeps on having to rollerblade through space toward a destination he can't possibly reach. Ahhhh!

And then at the end, she has managed to negotiate to get him (and Sean Bean) back their ACTUAL WINGS. And then they fly off into the sky. Fabulous! Glorious! Amazing!

I watched it again today. It seemed much shorter and made much more sense. Also I kept having to exercise, meaning run on the trampoline, or do this step thing I'm supposed to do for my knees. (It's a step aerobics step. I have to do this: step up, step down. Repeat. Exciting, no?)

I finally stopped going down stairs sort of sideways to save my knees, with the result that they're getting much better very fast. Wearing shoes at my desk seems to help, too. Who can possibly know the ways of knees?

What else? Oh! My local NaNo person asked if I was doing Camp NaNo, and I was like, "Huh? What?" as I was just back from school. And then I had this idea, and I drove around and researched it really fast, up by Sugarloaf, and then I started writing at perfectly normal speed, and then I started writing more and more hours per day. And the upshot is, I'm at 42k words already.

It was flying along and then I wrote this sort of iffy part today, but I know how to deal with that: pretend it doesn't exist and keep going. Then I'll wake up in the middle of the night with a solution, no doubt. Or I'll think of one while writing this.

Very odd to be writing 8k and 10k words per day. Physically it's fine. I just don't usually know all of the "what comes next" that fast. But this book keeps planning itself out in my head when I'm not looking. I appreciate that very much, book!

Today I managed to get more steps than words for the first time since I started the book. 6205 words, 7791 steps. Jeez, that makes me want to write another 1500 words, but that way lies madness. Anyway it's almost midnight.

You can credit the steps to Mr. Channing Tatum and his zooming around on space rollerblades.

I don't think I would want to watch other movies just to see him. It's that he's a DOG PERSON in this that makes him so awesome. I mean, he's all loyal and wonderful in all the ways that make dogs so wonderful. So although he's highly decorative and compelling to the eyes, I could easily see that turn awful if he was being or playing a jerkface. Which would ruin Caine for me. So no thank you.

I will happily watch this movie every day if that's what it takes for me to commit aerobic exercise. Sure! Why not! Or my other go-to similar space opera, The Fifth Element. What others are there, even? I should think about this.

I realized forty thousand words into my novel that it was playing on Anna and Elsa from Frozen in a whole lot of ways, so that's very funny. I only realized it when a character pulled a Frozen dvd off a shelf. Ha! I love that. Nice one, subconscious! Their names are even similar. It's someone else who shuts herself off from the world for safety, though. See, thematic.

Today I went out and bought seven yogurts and seven boxes of tissues. Two fezzes of cat litter and two boxes of Wild Berry Zinger and two cans of cleanser and two royal blue towels and two blue camping pads. One step aerobics step. I really hope my knees don't rise up and throw a revolution against me tomorrow. They have to get stronger so they will stop hurting. It's a thing!

Anyway I have to go up near Katahdin to explore and research for the other end of the book. It'll be awesome! I need other resources, too, but maybe they're in the library. I should go there and look, eh?

School is coming for me. It's all going to start at once. I have big plans to get so many things done first, most of them books that need to be put into order and sent on their merry ways. It's infinitely easier for me to write whole new novel drafts than work on rewriting old ones, of course, but the way this is going...I'm not going to say in case it makes it not happen. Lalalalalalalalalala! Anyway let me just say I'm happy with how this is going so far and looking forward to the rest of it. My poor character went through some of the worst stuff ever in the past few days and is about to come into her own whether she wants to or not, kicking and screaming if necessary.

I just figured out how to fix that section I didn't like. Aha! Thank you, sky rollerblading loyal wolfman boyfriend from space! Oh boy, that character! He's like if you mixed my dog with a hot guy. Also, I seriously suspect his ability to move like that makes the whole character, because he's so unselfconsciously physically comfortable in a way that animals are and we lesser humans aren't. I only usually see this in athletes, but then again, I never see dancers. So there you go!

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Misery loves more misery

I am actually not miserable, because I got AWESOME NEWS on the job front. Hurray! Two jobs! Happiness loves more happiness!

But I am miserable because of the stupid heat and humidity. It was 88 yesterday and today with high humidity and a million biting bugs, so you can do the math. = BAD. Do not like!

When it gets super hot, I won't cook, so I don't eat, because I'm not allowed to eat bread or whatever, even though sometimes I totally forget and go eat a lot of pizza, and then I feel like I'm going to die for three days, so then I don't do it again for a long time. When there are no sandwiches, what easy fast cold food is there that takes no effort because I'm not doing anything because it's hot?

Well, today I made a massive salad out of irritation with that lying crook, the attorney general. Oh my goodness. He's a liar and a gaslighter and a racist and a misogynist. Half of those he would admit proudly, too. YUCK. I hate his little pink goblin face.

I was languishing in front of a fan and doing absolutely nothing but watch that testimony when it irritated me beyond endurance and I got up and chopped up everything in sight and made it into a the aforementioned massive salad. Which I then ate up, every bit. Yum.

Salads aren't as good without apples. I really like an apple in a salad. Plus bell pepper, cucumber, chicken, and whatever else is around.

I don't know what I'm supposed to eat before going on the plane. I might make a mess of eggs with horseradish cheese in them, on the understanding that I won't be hungry again for a very long time. (It's true.)

Things I did today out of sheer irritation even though it was too bloody hot to move:

vacuumed the whole house
moved the tv so I could get into the yarn trunk
trawled the yarn trunk for travel yarn
picked out a pattern
took the dog for a walk through tick-infested woods and down the black fly infested road
changed the sheets

Irritation apparently motivates me quite effectively.

I'm having yogurt for a late dinner because I'm still not going to cook anything. Forget it. Though in retrospect, rice sounds nice.

Ever since I took those ridiculously huge doses of antibiotics FOR NOTHING on the word of a nurse who didn't know what she was doing, I've had to eat very plain food like rice or yogurt or fruit or my innards get very upset with me. I hope that things will calm down eventually. Maybe they'll even forgive me for the pizza!

Oh boy, it was good, though. At least the first two pieces that I had for dinner.

Anyway the dog loved our walk and the house looks very nice.

I'm on a mission toward increased fitness, though my mission has to battle extreme desire to do nothing at all physically. I mean I do tons of stuff, just I prefer to be sitting in the comfy chair with an iced beverage while I do those things.

Anyway, that's the plan. Egregious sigh of dismay. I'm hoping to use the pool at school, in my absurd bathing suit with the red and white striped cups and the navy blue dress part. It's not exactly low profile, but it's on MY terms.

So that's my day. Incredibly uncomfortable weather and annoying pests, not to mention the bugs (ha ha) resulted in a tremendous amount of work getting done. For which hurray!

I want a bath, but not a hot bath, and not a cold bath, and also not a warm bath because those are just cold baths waiting to happen. Maybe what I want is a shower, come to think of it.

Meanwhile I keep remembering about job thing and yippeeing to myself. I get these little jolts of excitement. Eep! Yay!

Maybe I can reintroduce my stealth fitness methods to my life, like the rule that I have to do jumping jacks while the kettle boils for tea, plus standing up at my desk. Ugh...I have no desire to do any of those things. Where is my get up and go? Did the antibiotics kill that too? I've been downing tons of probiotics every day, both the gummies (which survive best into the gut) and the yogurt. I suspect my meds need to be tweaked, by which I mean lowered, because I'm mellow to the point of zombification now that the severe pressure is off. MFA is over, training for Online Job is over, I'm hired officially, and now Traditional Job has hired me also.

It still won't be as much work as old Online Job plus MFA. Or like in the past when I worked full time in an office AND did a full four iterations of Online Job, back before they hired me on full time.

A couple days ago I wrote a story about that whole thing blowing up, how that horrible lady made me change my name and manipulated everyone and bullied everyone and then turned vicious on me when I got sick and got the full time Online Job, and got me pushed out early. Boy was she a piece of work. And I mean, from the beginning. All the signals were there. I just pushed past because I needed the job.

I do that a lot! I'll put up with badness for my own ends. It's kind of a form of not listening to yourself. I've been realizing I am super bad about that. I don't know when I'm hungry or thirsty because I learned from a very early age that what I wanted didn't matter. I'm not even aware of those signals. It takes feeling woozy to notice I haven't eaten all day, for instance.

Luckily I have tea! I want tea, boy oh boy. But I have to eat first, or it will make me throw up. So I do eat breakfast. And then I want another cup of tea so bad in the afternoon, so I have to eat again. Dinner, however, often goes forgotten.

I suppose being more active would make me hungrier, too. YAWN. It would be easier if I could go outside, but thirty seconds out there and I'm covered with black flies, whose bites leave insanely itchy welts the size of quarters. Now the mosquitoes are starting, too. GOOD TIMES. Frelling Maine, I tell you what.

Today I wondered why black flies don't live further south of here, like in Pennsylvania. They seem to be a northern thing. Do they not like the heat? If so, maybe we'll be rid of them, because it's hotter here every year.

Though it's lovely and cool right now. 70!

One of the fun things about Maine is talking to cashiers about our perfect temperature. We all agree on 65, in my limited survey. I think that's awesome. 65 is cool enough to wear long pants, while 70 isn't. For me. And other cold-adapted life forms.

It's supposed to get down to 52 tonight. Yes, please! And 45 tomorrow night. Oh boy!

Maybe I actually can have a bath. Glory!

This yarn I'm taking with is fine and soft, sage green. I'm going to knit some pretty lace for a scarf. Ooh, must remember stitch markers, thanks for reminding me! I was afraid my knitting days would be on pause because I crushed my right middle finger's last segment (what are finger segments called?) pretty good today putting the lawn mower into the shed. The mower has an end section that tilts up 90 degrees to self-propel. Well, you can lock it, or you can forget it's not locked and use the handle to push the mower up a steep ramp, upon which it will slam down that 90 degrees and crush whatever digit happens to be in the way. It's not broken or anything, and didn't damage the joint, but it sure hurt a lot. I thought it would stop my knitting but that seems to be okay after all. And writing with a pen. Both useful activities!

Stay safe, little bunnies! Eat your salads and drink your water and do your jumping jacks while the kettle is on to boil. I'll certainly try--cue exhausted eye roll--but presumably it'll get easier each time. Oh YAWN!

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Oh hi

I weed whacked so much over the past two days (not counting today, a DAY OFF) with my new weed whacker that I can barely lift a leg high enough to step over the edge of the tub. Why does weed whacking use those hip muscles? That seems so weird. But you have to lean over in a particular way to avoid whacking all your toes right off, I guess.

It's terrible out there. It's a very bad year for the black flies, which swarm and bite and get in your mouth and ears and eyes and nose and hair. So even covered down to my wrists, with a hood over my head and a head net over that, in rubber boots up to my knees, I STILL get bitten. Ridiculous.

The lawn is not so very much cut right now. I've been catching up on the super tall areas, but the regular flat part is growing fast. Today landlord came over with extra tomato plants (nooooo!) and I showed him the wiring/switch problem in the front hall, where my new weed whacker also was, which led to a lawn conversation, and anyway I'm going to go borrow my old mower that I gave him and mow the grass properly tomorrow.

Except not the steep parts. I'm sticking with the weed whacker for that. The mower is heavy and wrenches my arms out of their sockets when I have to yank it around on that steep slope.

Good times, eh?

In other news, I have an awesome interview coming up, and I got a rejection notice for a short story today. I instantly (five hours later) went and submitted all the stories I could to all the places I could. Including that one. Bounce them right back on out!

Then it became clear to me that I need to write more stories. Like, every day. I should write a story a day. I wonder how long I could do that? If I made it a huge priority I might be able to pull it off. They can be short, after all. Flash fiction is bananas short.

I wrote my presentation and it's 1776 words. That feels like INDEPENDENCE so I'm unwilling to edit it even one tiny bit. I have a little bit of weird number OCD.

Oh and today I suddenly regained the ability to play fast sudoku. Nothing exciting happened to bring this about. I have no idea.

I keep doing all the weird packing things, like counting out enough vitamin gummies and probiotic gummies to last me while I'm away. And picking out earrings. And hand washing scarves, then neatly folding them up.

It'll be a relief when it's late enough for me to pack clothes. Even though I know I only need like seven days' clothes, I want to take absolutely everything. I pulled a million things out of the closet as part of my psychological pre-packing process. It's enough stuff for a month. Come on, now. It's almost like I don't want to leave anyone behind, though. Nooooo!

And I got the upstairs finally cleaned up and everything (almost) put away. Jeez. After I switched the day bed into the writing room, there was massive chaos. In part that's because I had a lot of clothes in the drawers of the day bed that suddenly needed to go elsewhere. I dealt with all of that last evening. It was kind of hellish, to be honest. It meant moving absolutely every garment in every drawer, reorganizing, refolding everything, storing a bunch of stuff in a Rubbermaid tote in the closet.

Okay, so that's a pretty mild version of hell, I admit it. But my knees and hips were already in agony from the weed whacker extravaganza and it was all kneeling and bending. Oooooof. Ouch.

I hope all these people publish all my stories and then I'm all story-published and thrilled and delighted. I want to be a story publisher person. Write the stories, send them out! That should be me. I can do that. Boy do I love writing stories. Whoop!

Especially since now I don't have to write about dreadful autobiographical material, which was admittedly cathartic, but some of those are definitely not publishable, alas. I cannot send them anywhere. I don't think. Can I? Maybe. I have to think more about it. Right now I don't feel like I can.

So get this: if I wear capri leggings from Walmart ($4!) and a giant oversized t-shirt that I usually sleep in (KMart, men's 2XL tall) then I feel like a million bucks. I feel like I can run and jump and ride bikes and do absolutely anything. If I wear my fancy expensive J. Jill linen trousers, all baggy, which okay I paid $8 for, but they were $80-120 new, then I feel ugly and awkward and terrible and like I can't do anything at all.

What is that all about? Is it just about sporty garb versus frumpy garb? I practically want to put my hair up in a scrunchie in this getup. It's awesome.

I figure I'll stick with the speedy garments. I'm not even packing any of my giant linen trousers. I will dress like an aerobics instructor circa 1985 and be happy instead.

Not really. I'm taking all my nice silky blouses, plus the silky tank dresses that are actually tops on me, which I wear as undershirts to cover my retreat.

I have clothing issues, apparently. I just reread a story I wrote about that. Yep. I have 'em. The part that is weird to me about today's navy blue leggings with red and white stars all over them, worn in honor of the Comey hearings and the defense of democracy against that utter jackass T***p and his abuse of power and all his various crimes, plus the giant navy blue t-shirt, is that clothes have such a powerful effect on how I feel when I never ever actually look in a mirror. Right? Like the received wisdom is that how you LOOK affects how you feel. But nobody sees me. So that's irrelevant. How I dress is entirely about how I feel instead.

These leggings are hilarious. But not as funny as the royal blue ones with the red and white hearts and curlicues all over them.

A lot of my clothes have turned out to be red and black, which mystifies me. That deep glowing crimson, though, I can't resist it.

I even reglued my Adidas Sambas for the trip. One sole was flapping in the front. I should wear them to see whether the glue stays stuck. I have superglue that I can use if necessary.

All those submissions tonight, that was pretty awesome. It was like work, in the sense that it had clear cut parameters and clear beginning and ending points and I could just work through it methodically and then be done.

Heck, maybe I can send out those others. I'm all torn about it. I mean, don't pre-reject something, right? Let them do it. There we go!

I'm craving pizza so badly that I'm in serious danger of going out and getting one tomorrow. I've been in pre-trip no desire to eat mode. Basically it's just been rice and yogurt, though today I made eggs with horseradish cheese and it was utterly delicious. I might make that again tomorrow, to be honest. If I don't get hot food and protein, I get all frazzledy and quietly frantic and then can't focus or do anything.

That is actually the sign of NOT TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF that I'm learning to watch for. I was not raised to take care of myself, or to think that I needed to be taken care of in any way. I'm only gradually starting to figure out that I have the right to want and need things and then get them. No duh, you might say, but it's a side effect of neglect and abuse, so whatever, I'm working on it. You treat yourself the way you have been treated, until you train yourself otherwise. It takes work.

Speaking of taking care of myself, I'm heading to bed. At a reasonable time. New mattress is freaking amazing that way. I can go to bed and just go to sleep. Outrageous! Glorious! Wonderful!

I spent the whole Comey hearing running around the house, cleaning everything up, sweeping, tidying, putting absolutely everything away. That hearing agitated me, even though I think it was the giant push we need to get that orange knuckledragger out of office and gone from our lives. I'm still amazed we haven't seen some kind of idiotic backlash from him. I imagine a team of lawyers actually sitting on him to prevent him from making things even worse for himself. What a jackass.

Comey was impressive, though. I feel like we might be seeing a lot more of him coming up. But that may be because I mistake anything I see on my iPad for fiction.

Thursday, June 1, 2017


The project isn't complete, because I want to build and then carve a headboard and footboard for the bed. And probably sideboards too, let's be honest. Once I get carving I'm not going to want to stop. But I got a new mattress yesterday after a sudden dawning awareness that all this major body joint pain and a ten year old mattress were causally related. Except then the mattress wouldn't fit on my ad hoc bed that I've been using for a year, the boxy white daybed. So I had to disassemble the daybed and move it into the other upstairs room, the tiny writing room, and build the metal feet/frame thing, which I bought specially because it has bolt brackets on each end instead of just one, and then I had to cut twelve long boards to support the mattress on the bunkie board, which is like a super thin box spring, and THEN I had to put all those pieces together, find the sheets, and finally go to bed.

I know!

I was in SO MUCH PAIN by the end of all that. I'm sick of pain. Get rid of it!

And I'm not even done. It's up too high, so I have to adjust nine screw feet adjusters to lower it down. And there's stuff everywhere in the writing room that needs to be rearranged and get put away. There are bookcases all askew. Also I might need to bank the far side of the bed with bookcases because it feels very precarious not having that extra buffer zone of pillows like on the daybed.

The daybed is a very happy place to sit and write in the writing room now, though. That mattress is fine on the edges.

One odd effect is that now I have three beds in three rooms. The third one is my office. I could have guests! Multiple guests! What is that about? Actually there's a fourth old thin twin mattress in the closet up there, too. And the downstairs daybed has a pull out trundle bed where that could go. So four, four beds! What is that about!

Nobody comes to my house, so I don't know what I think I'm preparing for. Last visitors were...Christmas, when my brother and nephew came over with presents for me. Has my sister even been here since? I don't think so. I think she visited before Christmas.

I also got a proper desk chair, a comfortable one, instead of using those hard flat dining room table chairs as I have been doing. I know! I was just figuring, everything hurts so much all the time, and where am I all the time? In bed or in my desk chair. So those things are fixed now.

First night on the new bed was blissful. I did take ibuprofen because I was in screaming agony after carrying all those heavy things up the stairs and rebuilding the daybed and so on. (The furniture boys brought the mattress up. There is NO WAY I could get that massive thing up those stairs.)

Anyway now I get to think about my headboard and footboard and consider what to carve and how. I had originally planned to make it like the Franks casket. I could do that! I'm not sure whether I want to use one solid board or what. Also it's kind of a long process, carving things like that. But so fun! But hard on the hands, with the hammers and chisels. Last time I had this setup where the board I was carving was blocked in place on my quilting table. I could clamp a longer board down there. Or use the trestles. I probably won't start this until fall, though, because I have to finish the cedar chest first. There's massive sanding to do, which I hate, so I've been putting it off.

Must stop putting it off!

Sanding kills my hands. Anything where I have to hold tight to something like that is excruciating. Good times!

I got my printed and bound copies of my thesis this week and positively squealed with delight. I hope I get to keep one. I think I will. I think both get signed and then I get one. Oh boy!

Actually I have to go mail the box of those right flipping now so they get there in time. It might cost a fortune. But they'll charge me $25 for a bag that's over weight anyway and this way I won't have to carry them.

Yes, travel prep--horrendous. I hate it. I hate leaving my house anyway, but traveling is the worst. But after this residency I won't have to do this again. No more dorms, no more cafeteria, no more planes. I mean, we'll see about the planes, but I managed to avoid flying extremely well for many years. It's just so unpleasant in every conceivable way.

Having to leave the house and be around people means of course that I suddenly notice that I have no sandals (remedied) and no summer shorts except those cut-offs (have acquired capri leggings) and no sleeveless versions of the giant long silky undershirts I've been wearing all winter (have acquired slinky rayon tank dresses that are like tops on me, and camisoles) and so after that visit to Walmart (yes) I'm all comfortably outfitted. Plus linen capri pants at Marden's.

Those clothes are alarmingly cheap. Like the silky camisoles are $3. I almost got a bunch of the white linen pants to wear while painting because they were $8. I never want to get paint on any of my actual clothes, no matter how old or funky, because that's a line that can't be uncrossed. Once there's oil paint on something, it's there forever.

It's funny. Why not just designate one of the existing pairs of linen pants as painting pants? But that would cross that line. They'd be gone from the rest of the world forever! I don't know where this comes from because I'm not exactly a snappy dresser, and it's paint, not baby vomit or something--I mean, it's not gross. But still.

I have the same problem with shirts. Though probably I can allow paint on my ancient black t-shirts at this point. I don't wear them out of the house.

I really, really want to paint, so something has to give here. Every day I'm like: okay, but not in these clothes. And then I never do.

Mostly I'm busy writing BOOK. New comfy chair of lack of pain makes an enormous difference in how long I can sit still, at least physically. It doesn't do much for my psychological need to get up and run around. Physically not being uncomfortable is a game-changer, though. Same with the bed.

So now I expect great things! Sleep! Writing! Great things!

And finishing of lingering projects: the cedar chest, the flannel quilt. I will get them done.

I should be starting New Job soon, which is very exciting and will set my mind at ease. I'll have to buy a monitor for that since my laptop screen is so small and the site is fixed width, but that's okay. I want to make massive progress on all three things, cedar chest, quilt, and BOOK, before that starts. So we shall see. I also have to put pockets into my shorts and such things. This morning I ripped out the seams in the fake pockets. That was the hardest part. I'll use some muslin or whatever to make new pockets and sew them in and voila! (In which "voila!" means "several hours of careful work.")

One of these weeks I'll get my mower back from the shop and then I can cut down the jungle growing all around the house. I've only been keeping this one patch in front clear and now the rest is too tall for the push mower. I could try to figure out and gas up the weedwhacker and cut it all down, but I would not hold my breath on that one. Who knows, maybe I'll do it! I *should* do it. But so far I never *have* done it.

Anyway. To the post office! Except not the one in town because I mailed a box to my mom priority mail and it took ten days to get there. I don't know what happened, but that's not going to work for this situation. I guess the next town up is my best option. They seem to be more on the ball.

Happy summer, and happy comfortable places to sleep and write!

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Dr. Crusher

What an odd name to give to a character. Beverly Crusher. Dr. Crusher. I wonder what on earth lies behind that name? Bet there's a story in there.

I have to go see Dr. Crusher or maybe Dr. Squeezer on Friday. Or more like Dr. Tortilla Press. I've been making lots of corn tortillas lately so I feel like in some sense I've brought this on myself. (Not actually true. But I do see the parallels.)

At any moment I'm going to have to leap to my feet and run outside to grab the laundry and bring it in due to imminent rain. Maybe it won't, though. Maybe it will!

The black flies are so bad that it's torture to go for walks with the dog, so he's not getting walks unless we go to parks or places like that. My niece's school, one day when we picked her up, for example. But our usual walks down the road are horrible, even when I'm drenched in bug spray, so nope. Even going out in the yard is not much fun with the bugs.

The grass is super tall everywhere except the front flat part which is reasonably easy to mow with the motorless mower. But today I got the trailer onto the car and the mower onto the trailer, so I'll take it in tomorrow and get it fixed all up. Soon, I hope. I mean presumably the rush is over, right? I did my best and took it all apart and cleaned it and replaced bits but that thing is beyond me. Off to mower camp!

I have to go to writer camp and the boys have to go to dog and cat camp soon. DON'T WANNA. Though I am hatching a plot to drive down to Crater Lake, somewhere I've always wanted to go. It's only 4.5 hours away but you can't take dogs, so I never managed it, because: always dogs. It was too far to go and leave him home, and I couldn't take him, which means I didn't go. Same with previous dog, obviously.

I've got this shirt on today that is just completely enormous. I have no idea why I've never worn it before. There are a couple this sort of color but one is smallish, so I think I conflated them. I wouldn't wear a smallish shirt so I skipped this one too, I guess? Anyway it's delightfully vast in the acreage and I'm pleased.

It's worrying me how I'm going to dress for the hideous heat out among people at writer camp. I hate that part. I have a fantasy of sewing lovely soft knit camisoles by hand. I mean, it's not a far-fetched fantasy--it's perfectly possible--except that I have no energy or motivation at all lately, so I haven't taken the slightest steps to make it happen. Yawn!

I did buy twelve more boxes of tea out at Marden's in my old town yesterday, though. Cool! There's another year of tea in the bag! They had it for half price so I'm thrilled. I'd have preferred to get all of them and just back the car up and shovel them in, but for some reason I felt a little constrained after twelve. Like twelve is okay but twenty-four would be weird? Or forty-eight? That's only four years' worth of tea, you guys.

I would love to have the shelf of this closet all totally stacked up with boxes of tea. How great would that be? Of all the things anyone could hoard, tea is the most reasonable. She said, realizing that saying that makes her sound completely daft. But listen! It keeps perfectly well, it's light, it's non-perishable, and it's the thing I would miss the most if civilization fell apart, after my various meds. Possibly more than my various meds.

Boy, I really need to wash this window that I really needed to wash a year ago. It hasn't gotten any cleaner. How weird.

I hope the TSA doesn't mind that I'm bringing an inflatable bed and a pump in my suitcase. Not in my carry-on, so they shouldn't care. Also a box of tea (ha) and an electric kettle and sheets and a mattress pad and who even knows what else. I can't imagine anyone would care, but then again, they probably do care. Then again I just read that some vast percentage of actual illegal items that should be screened out get missed, like 95%, so maybe my camping equipment is okay.

I've been chopping away at the forest of weeds that is my book all day long, making excellent progress, but it has come to my attention again that this B story needs to be developed because without it the whole thing falls apart. So I'm working on that. Villains! Creeps! Jerks! But they feel so aggrieved and unfairly done by. Nothing makes people less sympathetic in my mind than that when it's not true. Good times.

Since I was out in my old haunts, I went back to that TJ Maxx and got more delicious smelling liquid soap and shower gel etc. for baths. Which is why I reek like a rose today in case you're wondering. Which you're not. This time I used what I learned from last year's collection. No citrus, no rosemary, no basil, no coconut. Go for flowers, anything sea breeze flavored, lavender, bergamot even though technically that's citrus, ginger, roses, spice. The Crabtree and Evelyn sweet almond kind is just the most delicious smell ever. Mmmmm. I also found incredible bottles this time, the prettiest things you ever saw. And some came in blue glass bottles that will be keepers for sure.

That is my bath bubble acquisition adventure for the year. Pretty thrilled! It took ten minutes. Read, sniff, into the basket.

Later this week I get to go pick up my printed and bound thesis and see whether Gaiman's law holds true. Supposedly the first time you open up a printed work, you see a typo or other mistake. I hope not! Maybe it doesn't count if you only printed and bound two copies.

Here's hoping that Dr. Crusher doesn't find anything amiss and life can go on as planned without major upsets. We do not want that! My friend far away is also going through exactly the same thing, only different, so we're lab rat buddies. It sucks! But hopefully it'll all be okay.

Character traits to write into these villainous types because these are things I dislike the most: greed, malice, jealousy, callousness to the sufferings of others, clannishness, cruelty. That should be plenty to go on with.

I realized my book is short on EVENTS. And when there aren't any EVENTS happening, nothing is really happening, which is weird and strange and why? So I'm working hard on EVENTS. People doing stuff! And then because of that, they have to make choices and decisions!

Personally I prefer when nothing happens ever, but I'm discovering that's not ideal for fiction. NO DUH.

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Do everything all at once ah!

Isn't it odd? I feel like I get nothing done and I move around in slow motion and everything is excruciating all the time. Also every little thing feels monumentally huge and insurmountable and impossible to accomplish. And so doing things is unnecessarily fraught with difficulty and drama.

Today I did some things, though. I mowed a bunch of the grass. I can't really estimate how much of it because it's all in different sections, plus some are insanely hard due to slope, but not large. Anyway. Some. The part in front of the house. That felt most important to get done.

I hoed part of the garden so I can plant my potatoes. It's so odd, the ones grown from eyes have turned into awesome whole plants, while the ones grown from whole little potatoes are much slower to come along. I have a big plate in the sun in the kitchen with a paper towel on it and water on that. There are some onion bottoms turning into new onions also. And some carrot tops that I stuck on there because they were growing a whole little forest of frilly leaves anyway, so why not?

I have to write this presentation, so I keep going over it in my head, except it's not very happy material and it kind of gets me down thinking about it. Obviously that's something I need to fix also! Because making it a giant downer will not get my audience thrilled about life. Well, I do have a terrific way to go through to the end, don't worry.

The whole thing is called This Way to the Egress because one thing I figured out with this spring's writing was that in the worst times, even as a very little kid, I always managed to find a way to tell a story that made things better. I think that's awesome. I never realized I did that until I had to write out all these things.

I also never realized that I only use the simple past and not more complex forms. That's really just part of my dialect somehow. Obviously I read the more complex forms all the time, but I don't use them in speech, and neither do my brother and sister. It's very odd.

I brought cookies. I have brought cookies. I had brought cookies. I would have brought cookies. Maybe that last one, in the form of "woulda brought," but otherwise, only the first one. It's so odd to discover this absolutely unconscious speech habit at this late date.

In other words, we don't come from educated, articulate people, and all the education in the world can't erase those roots from our speech.
I'm a happy articulate speaker, though, so I expect the presentation will go fine, if I can stop being hyperaware of this particular tic. I love an audience, especially a bunch of writers. It's odd because I will have to talk about how I can't really deal with people, but people in an audience are at a nice safe distance, plus I'm in charge, so that's fine.

I don't even know where these talks are, because I never went to any in the previous two summers. (I have not ever gone to any? I feel like an alien.) It would help if I could picture the space. I suspect it's going to be in this giant echoey awful linoleum and folding chairs room.

It'll be fine. I once had to defend a paper to the entire Princeton history department while they were in hostile blood in the water mode, so I'll manage. I still think of something one guy said, though. He questioned my use of the word "stylized." What exactly do you mean by "stylized?" I still think that was an idiotic question, since I was using that word in the dictionary definition and there isn't really a lot of wiggle room there. Did he not understand the word? (Answer: he was Princeton faculty. He understood the damn word.) Was he just being a dick? (Answer: he was just being a dick.)

Also, that is an insanely difficult concept to articulate on the fly. I should have asked him to define it.

"Depict or treat in a mannered and nonrealistic style." Yes! Thank you, the internet. Guess what, there really isn't any other way to use that word, so shut up, Princeton professor guy in like 1999.

That experience was a little bit like I imagine the Salem witch trials must have been. For the witch.

So anyway, a nice fluffy presentation about this spring should be cake, except that the material is so fraught. I imagine the committee defense thing should be all right too, unless anyone decides to be a Princeton style dick, in which case I will use my laser eyes to incinerate them right then and there.

My biggest concern is making sure my potatoes will be watered while I'm away.

I did so much today that I'm sitting in my comfy chair going ow every time I move, or even when I don't move. I made roasted veg, cleaned out the fridge, washed all the dishes, worked on the gas mower, failed to make that sucker work, did the aforementioned mowing and hoeing, took the compost out, took the cat litter out, put away two baskets of laundry, folded up and put away all the sweaters, changed the sheets on my bed and the guest (cat) bed, folded up all the blankets, made every conceivable phone call, wrote for hours and hours (though not fiction), moved a bunch of books upstairs, AND SO ON. Like after I had a bath to soak out the ouches I went on and made a huge batch of refried black beans, and then washed all of those dishes, too. And cleaned up the kitchen utterly. I ran around putting things away a lot, too, and assembled a bunch of stuff to take to writer camp, like sheets and inflatable bed and inflater and mug and lanyard.

It really does sound like camp when I list those things.

I guess it could be fun? I have major social anxiety dread about the whole thing right now, from the plane to being there to graduation and friends coming to saying goodbye to everyone.

Also I have a powerful conviction that a dreaded event will happen exactly during my presentation, but we shall see. Hopefully not. I'll turn off my phone in any case, so I won't know until after.

What am I gonna do tomorrow?

I started reading Strange the Dreamer but it made me miss Karou something fierce. Like the writing is awesome and all, but where is my friend? Where is she? Though I am a big fan of Laszlo and looking forward to seeing how his story plays out. I'm on the fence about the blue people, though you'd think I'd be all on board, but where I am so far, they seem like lazy whiners, so we'll see.

Tomorrow I expect I will have to loll about going "oof" and "ow" because of overdoing it today. I will write books! That is a sitting still activity. I have to warn you, though. I'm also probably going to plant some potatoes, which means both digging and raking, so. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017


It's all balmy out! For Maine levels of balmy. That means it's like 72 and not actively trying to drown us. Hurray!

I have to get the dang mower fixed. It's possible I broke it by strapping it down on the trailer across a delicate spring, which I couldn't see because the whole thing was covered by a tarp. Anyway all the gas falls out through the air filter when I start it up. And then it stops. Something is amiss!

I won't be able to get it fixed until the end of the month-ish which means I've been mowing with the old-fashioned push mower, the kind with no engine. It works, more or less. I mean the lawn is walkable again, but sort of patchy. That thing requires shorter grass to work optimally. When the grass is too long it just pushes it over.

We'll fix it. But it's going to take some time.

Today I was puzzling and puzzling over the green stripe on the dog's paw until I remembered that we were over at my brother's on Sunday and my nephew was simultaneously playing with markers and melting down. So I have my suspicions about what may have happened there. He probably used erasable marker thinking it would wipe off. Dogs are not erasable, though!

My brother denies the possibility but the circumstantial evidence is very strong. I do own markers, but haven't had them out in years. Except the odd Sharpie to label a fez or whatnot. But those don't sit around with their lids off and if they had, they'd be well dried out by now. Anyway. GUILTY! Nephew is GUILTY! Of a totally minor and harmless thing, of course.

Today I found out I didn't get the job from last week's interview. It was sort of a long shot. It's okay. I had qualms, but just because it was going to start part time and ramp up to full time by December. What happens between now and then, see?

My other job, New Online Job, is still in the unpaid training stages, but OH OH OH, I love this place. It's better in every way than elsewhere. Philosophy, training, everything. I'm such a fan. I hope it starts up fast and becomes super awesome and turns into a lifelong partnership and adventure.

Meanwhile, I'm under orders (mine) to write more short stories and rewrite/finish book(s). Today short stories started bubbling up in my head again, which is very nice because there was no real bubbling for a while there. But I turned in my thesis yesterday (yaaaaayyyyy!!!) and so I am feeling giddy with possibilities.

And much less giddy in general. Did I mention giving up ibuprofen? Did I spell it right? Well, holy wow, I'm totally off it and feeling better than I did when I was on it, in terms of pain and general wellness and stuff. And my eyes have returned to normal. I can't even tell you what a relief that is. For one thing, I can read. For another thing, I'm not terrified that I'm going blind or something.

Don't take NSAIDs as a regular thing, even if your doctor prescribes them, like mine did! Of course this doctor (not a doctor) was an idiot. I'm not even kidding. She's very very bad at her job.

The first thing that happened is that all the extra drug-induced fluid in my body jumped ship. That was an interesting night with very little sleep. The second thing was that everything hurt like hell. The third thing was that I had to push through and exercise (mowing the grass with the analog mower) anyway. And the fourth thing was that I had less pain after all that than I did before all that and my eyes came back. Madness! Except I knew this, intellectually--pain meds are only useful in the short term. But sometimes we can be dense, eh?

Yum, stroopwafels. Stroopwafels in the breadbox! I had totally forgotten about them and then yesterday remembered out of nowhere. I wish I could have been recording that moment on video.

Oh! And I cut bangs again. Because my hair looked terrible without them. It's growing in gray around the edges up top but the gray is also sort of curly. When it was pulled back, gray was all you saw. And it just was not flattering one bit. So I watched videos and learned about how professionals cut bangs, because I'm me and I never do anything without preparation, and then I think Saturday I did the deed. And I look so much better!!! I even took selfies that came out awesome. Woohoo!

Experiment over, thank goodness. I hated looking in the mirror and trying to take a selfie for work purposes was a nightmare because they all suuuuuuucked. Now I look like myself again. There I am!

I guess it's been kind of a dramatic week, huh?

This morning on the radio the BBC announcer said, "And now more on American President [you know who,]" except when you say "more on" it sounds like, um, "moron," which made me laugh out loud in the car.

Then I went to the book sale at the library in the next town and got all these great books. 501 German Verbs! 501 Spanish Verbs! 501 French Verbs! Teach Yourself Chinese! A bunch of Bloom County books I didn't have! And various other things. Good stuff!

There was a funny moment because there was a book from one of the authors in my MFA program there, so I got all excited, and then remembered: oh yeah, I had two, so I donated that one to the book sale. Not actually even a coincidence!

This is the nicest library in the whole world, honestly. It's a private mansion someone donated to the town, on a lot of wooded land, up on a cliff over the river. I should ask them if it's okay to walk the dog around there on the paths on the property. There are benches and all, so people are okay, but you never know about dogs.

Especially the kind with one green stripe down one back paw.

I made coffee for my meeting this morning as kind of a high-octane option, but forgot that the coffee is decaf, whoops! Why don't I label these things? Sleepy. Also I was up late finishing Mockingjay. That book is a mess. It has no storyline. It's a jumbled series of events, loosely connected. The structure clearly comes from the previous books, as it's the same, but that structure doesn't work with the story of this book.

Also I know I've said this before, but the way the author chokes in the clinch of the second and third books really bothers me. Write yourself into a corner, good, yes, but then find a way out, a way in which the heroine has agency, without knocking your heroine unconscious and having her removed elsewhere to be cared for by a team of professionals.

And don't even get me started on the epilogue.

Overall Mockingjay is exceedingly disappointing just as a coherent novel. I guess it's probably good if you're just desperate for more of those characters. The choose a boy thing got old super fast for me, though. It made sense in the first two books but felt shallow and fake in the third. And nobody else had any depth either. Yes, a problematic book all kinds of ways. Needed another round with the editor and some more rewriting to determine the actual throughline.

Easy for me to say, haha. But I've been rewriting a lot lately and it's how I see everything. You know what is tightly written? Community. At least most episodes. There are a few that sort of come loose and unravel a bit, but mostly they're super tight.

By which I mean: all the pieces have to belong where they are. All the pieces have to be necessary for the story. Nothing extra to mislead or distract. The beginning leads logically and inevitably to the end based on the overarching premise.

I just got more ideas for how to fix Book so I have to go do that right now.

Wednesday, May 10, 2017


I finally unfurled a roll of giant nautical charts that Penn State was giving/throwing away back in like 1996. Oh boy! I think I might have had some of them hung up ages ago, but not for a really long time, if ever.

If you can't remember whether or when you might have hung up your maps, then maybe you never hung up your maps.

They are AWESOME charts. Oh boy! I vaguely remember picking them out by coastline. As in, the deep parts of the water are white, and the land is white, but the shallow parts by the coastline are blue. Coastlines are lovely and crinkly and full of edges. And so now I have charts of the coastlines of Sudan, Korea, and many other wonderful places. Ah!

Also Mt. Desert Island! Oh boy!

I have a whole blue box of maps and sewing patterns, but where is it? I think maybe in the closet of the sewing room, but who knows? Anyway once I find that, I'll put up a lot more maps. More maps!

I will not put sewing patterns up on the walls with thumbtacks, though. Why does that seem so Silence of the Lambs?

Boy howdy...I'm a little addled by stress these days. I just got SO CONFUSED about why my weekly pill box had the days backwards. Like Sunday was on the right! And then Monday came before that! Yes. It has a row of AM and a row of PM days written opposite each other, as in, upside down to each other. Everyone already knows that I had it with the PM side facing me. Boy was that confusing, though.

Why so stressed? Halfway through a massive online training thing! It's awesome. Waiting for a big deadline thing to come up Friday. Another big important thing Friday. Monday I go get the pillage refillage. And Monday I turn in all of the last and final assignments for my MFA. Wooooooooo!!! From now until Monday I'm going to keep on revising and reworking and la la la! Make it good! Make it the best it can be!

No pressure or anything but I have to get it printed up and BOUND into HARDCOVER and all that. Dude! Actually I have to hustle on that.

And I have to buy a plane ticket for Oregon, except I'm waiting on this money to come in and I don't know if it'll be here before my rent is due, so I don't want to spend the money on the plane ticket just in case, see. So I'm on tenterhooks and the upshot will probably be that it will arrive in time anyway and I will have to pay way too much for a plane ticket I could have bought for much less.

Ooh, I'm also toying with the idea (terrible idea) of driving out instead of flying. See, it's a terrible idea. I told you it was terrible. But also awesome, because: road trip! Mattress in the back! Snuggle with the dog! Board the dog out there! But that is exceedingly unlikely to the point where there's no real reason to think about it except it's fun and I love a road trip.

 Also toying with flying out of Portland or Boston. But as I wrangle the math, it's not sensible. It doesn't save any money. It costs more by the time I get down there and pay for parking. Here my brother fetches my car so I don't pay for parking for all that time.

Anyway that's what's happening around here.

I'm having a TERRIBLE time with my eyes, and to a lesser extent my sense of balance and my legs. I haven't quite fallen yet but there were many close calls last week with a little stepstool. I have no idea which way is up. Most of the time that's okay because I'm sitting at my computer, doing my online training thing.

But oh, my eyes are killing me. I haven't been able to read for a week, which is torture. You know I usually read a book every day. I just have to buckle under and download some audiobooks from the library or something.

I'm not doing anything different, obviously. I went from working on my laptop all day to working on my laptop all day. Hello. It's just that usual neurological firestorm I get a couple of times a year. It'll pass. Meanwhile I'll use handrails and walk carefully and generally be a careful person. Audiobooks! Yes. And I have a cane in case I need it. I've used it plenty in the past.

Stress can set that off, I know. Last week was about the most stressful time in forever, it's true. This week I've kind of just settled into it and decided that I'm going to make things okay no matter what, which is a useful skill to acquire belatedly. But last week was my birthday, and I had literally six dollars in the bank, and all these huge bills coming up with no way to pay them, and this and that and the other thing, plus starting that new training and another whole thing and blah blah blah. It was a rough week! And then my body quit working, which made it even more stressful in a lot of ways.

My eyes are by far the worst of it, though. I should go get an eye exam, huh? I will do that as soon as I can.

Once I get the MFA work done, I suspect my stress levels will plummet exceedingly. Oh BOY do I want that to be good. Then I can worry about the talk I have to give, which, no big deal, really, and the books I'm writing. Books are good! I like books. I like having binders with full drafts in them so I can grapple with the manuscripts pen in hand.

This is always the story of my life. Things get hectic and stressful and insanely difficult, and I'm all baffled by why I'm so stressed out. Oh, you left one job and started two new jobs in one week when you were broke and couldn't afford to pay any of the bills, in the thesis-writing portion of the last two weeks of a two year long degree program? Why should that be stressful? Sheesh. I also chipped a tooth. Wonderful! It's one of my front teeth.

So I'm being very kind and gentle with myself and making myself meatballs and palak paneer and reminding myself to drink lots of water, because when I get stressed out I totally forget. And now I'm going to go get in the bath and maybe read some middle grade books or something because they have nice big print. No, wait, I will not be able to read. I can't see long enough. Like I could maybe read for five minutes before my eyes quit. I'll probably put Leverage on the iPad and listen to that instead. I'm super cold right now so a hot bath sounds wonderful!

Wait, let's look into the library's audiobooks right now! It's a good plan. I adore audiobooks. They make me very patient, I do not know how.

Oh! I just read that taking lots of ibuprofin every single day (three times a day in fact) hugely increases risk of heart attack. So I skipped one dose. We'll see how well that goes. I'm not sure what will happen to my busted up hands and knees if I quit entirely. It's for osteoarthritis. We shall see!

The funny thing is: what's easiest to do is write. I don't have to see to write! I could write with my eyes closed, gosh. The only issue would be if I had to edit or rewrite or otherwise have to see what's on the screen. I've been managing so far with the training but hoo boy am I not in great shape with this, you guys!

Anyway I should know a lot more this Friday about what's going on and when and all that kind of thing. We shall see! It will all be all right. Yes, it will. And I will write many awesome books and stories! And it will be awesome.

Sunday, April 30, 2017

May Day

May Day is full of multiple variable meanings this year! International Workers' Day, of course. And I'm feeling it in the m'aidez sense quite strongly. Mayday, mayday!

I have to make a tremendously huge decision tomorrow which will change a lot of things, but most of all, will mean I can stop going crazy over money. I keep being strung along with the hope of more and the delays and the uncertainty are just getting to me way too much. And also now they are not actually giving me any more, which is what caused me to Draw The Line.

I hate making decisions, especially big ones, especially when those have ramifications for what happens next down the line, etc. But I did an enormous amount of math and considered all of these various options and came to one conclusion, so that's a relief, I guess.

Very frustrating thing along the way over the last couple or three days was that I kept trying to talk to a friend about this and she kept putting me off and saying she had to deal with more important people, and although I get that I'm not important to her or to anyone, it's not nice to hear that said straight out, know what I mean?

Ooh, that would make a good book title. Nobody's Anything. I'm some people's aunt and sibling but not even in the top ten most important people for any of them. It's true! It sucks, but that doesn't make it any less true.

So that made me very sad and very angry and then very sad again. And then I fixed a lot of lamps (five, I think) and then I spent all day at the table with the lovely warm glow of my newly fixed brown colonial candlestick type lamp, with the paper draft of Novel and actual scissors and tape. I did so much work rearranging scenes and solving problems and so on! And I figured out some major roadblocks that have been with Novel since the beginning. Now I have to write all sorts of new things. I'm making a shopping list of new scenes that I need. Then I can jigsaw those into place and then dig into the heinous but satisfying task of merging everything together and smoothing it all out. So hard!

It's this process that makes me appreciate short stories, where you can just rewrite in the course of an hour or two. With a novel it's far too easy to lose focus because you have to stop and do other things. Life and whatnot. You can't go through the whole thing in one sitting to check on the throughline of X character or Y concept. And that is why novels are hard.

For me, at least.

Writing mountains of stuff is plenty easy for me. It's just making it all fit together and make sense that's difficult. Or remembering essentially anything, ever, whee!

Right now I'm slightly worried that I may have taken my evening pills twice. No real harm done if I have, but I hope I haven't. That's the downside of all this concentration.

Mmm, I can't even express adequately how wonderful it is to be sitting under the warm glow of this lamp. Friday when I was out signing paperwork for New Job (which has scheduled me for an utterly paltry number of hours my first week, making me VERY FROWNY) I bought incandescent light bulbs at last, and then that motivated me to fix the lamps at last.

One lamp is still missing its sockety part on top. Where did that go? I brought the fez of hardware things in from the shed but I still have to go through it. And I have a suspicion that there is more hardware somewhere else. Maybe? I don't know. I remember a cat litter fez of hardware but then I think I combined it with this one? I DON'T KNOW.

Moving a bunch of times is exactly like rewriting a book a bunch of times in that I have no idea where anything is or whether I undid the thing I remembered doing or not. So that's fun.

I plan to sort out the contents of the hardware fez into cat litter fezzes, complicating the problem, but they will be clearly labeled so that should help. Labels!

That would help Novel quite a lot, too. Labels on stuff. I've been doing that all day with post-it notes. Navigation aids! They help with navigation! What an amazing concept, you know?

Now I'm figuring out how I can move things around without totally losing the plot, so to speak. I mean that figuratively and literally both, which is kind of fun.

I am gonna bake Mississippi Mud Cake for my birthday, you guys! I make awesome MMC. I have some amazing little birthday candle candelabras that I'm going to use, too. Where are the tiny candles? Somewhere! With the icing stuff, I suspect. I might even ice the cake, even though that's, you know, icing on the cake, just so I can decorate it up. I love doing that. Many colors! Tiny flowers! Little leaves! So pretty!

My brother is supposed to be taking me out but he has a tendency to bail on me very regularly, so I'm not necessarily counting on it. My plan in the quite likely event that I end up being home alone on my 50th birthday is to make falafel in the fondue pot and make more delicious salad that I can't get enough of lately. That sounds fabulous to me. Mmmmm. And that's why I'm baking cake the day before! Or possibly tomorrow since I'm starting New Job with a paltry half day on Tuesday.

Look, I have medjool dates! I love dates so much! And figs. I wonder if I can get figs around here? I was surprised to see the dates, to be honest.

Anyway tomorrow begins a new thing for me. I'm very excited about it and determined to make it work out the best possible way. I'm feeling exceedingly fierce about it. And I have the lovely warm glow of lamps now! So look out, world!