notes for cabinet particulier, part iv: draft of first chapter completed

Dear Internet,

It’s about 8:30PM and I’m sitting on the front deck, still in my jim jams from the night before. This is the second time today I have stepped foot out of the cabin, the first being this morning when after I woke and received a phone call from the Cedar postmaster telling me the post carrier had flagged where we can put our new mailbox and I had walked out to check to verify the location. After that, my butt was parked either at the island in the kitchen or in the chaise  (so very chic) writing and researching.

My book takes place in 1907 London that revolves around an aging actress who is  not terribly good but she is what matters most and that is she’s one of the most beautiful women of her age. I’m styling her looks after the famed American silent film actress from the same era, Maude Fealy.

maudefealy

As my character is an Edwardian London stage actress, I spent some time today gathering moar research on the theaters of the era and discovered a gem of a site that also had a handy Google map of theaters from the era, including play programs, photos, and loads more.

I also dipped into cosmetics and etiquette of the era, finding a boon of a book entitled Every Woman’s Encyclopedia, from 1910, which ran into a hefty 8 volumes and 6000 page. The book is intense. Here is a gem on how Edwardian lady should keep her eyes more becoming:

thinkingcap

Yes, let us not weary our poor optic nerves, shall we ladies?

I had the idea of how I wanted the book to open and numerous first lines had already appeared, so instead of working out a vague outline of where I wanted the book to go, I just sat down and wrote instead. Several hours later, I had 2100 words in a pretty good first chapter under my belt with ideas of where I was going.

Tomorrow I was to go kayaking with Emili, but I just texted her to beg off since I’m in the zone and needed to continue plowing through with my work. Kristin is coming up tomorrow evening for the weekend and we’ll be busy and I’m heading back to Grand Rapids on Sunday (can’t miss my Sunday evening telly). Next week is going to be busy as John is coming into town on Tuesday evening to stay at Throbbing Manor and we are heading to the Code4Lib Midwest conference on Wednesday/Thursday. Since many of my favorite people are going to be at the conference as well, there will be lots of socializing. Friday I head to Mt. P to hang with Kristin for the weekend and we’re meeting up with some of our cmmrb pals and then it’s back to the grind on Monday when I head back to the cabin for MOAR writing for a week and then the cmmrb weekend will be here and then it will be August.

Jesus fucking Christ. In the four days I’ve been up here, between blog posts, writing the chapter, and research I’ve cranked out 10,000 words. I am a mutherfucking machine!

On that note, I’m getting off the laptop and calling it an early night. I’m going to brush the fuzz off my teeth, wash my filthy body, and make a bowl of popcorn. Yes, yes I did indeed bring my beloved hot air popper to the cabin with me. I’m then going to curl up around my ipad and watch Downton Abbey, for you know, research.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2008, 2003, 1999, 1998

notes for cabinet particulier, part iii: sorting the research

View from the back deck
View from the back deck

Dear Internet,

As planned, I got up early and headed into Traverse City to get Jeeves’ tires attended to. I called the local BMW dealership and was told, despite confirmation from MINI Grand Rapids and the TC BMW receptionist, they do NOT service MINIs. His suggestion? Take my car to MINI Grand Rapids. When I pointed out a 160 mile trek on possibly bad tires was not a wise move, he suggested I head to Discount Tire (as I had originally was leaning towards) and also gave me the name of a local TC shop that specialized in MINIs and other foreign cars.

Once you get off of M-72 and start heading into Cedar and then further on to Throbbing Cabin is some of the best driving roads around, barring M-22 of course. I love this part of the drive when we come up here as this is the kind of roads where Jeeves thrives and begs to be driven on. There is a stretch of about five miles after you leave Cedar that is hairpin straight and goes up some minor hills; when you hit the apex of each hill, you can see Lake Michigan beckoning in the distance.

Uncertain to the status of the my tires, I drove ever so slowly down to TC and who am I kidding here? I was probably white knuckling it the entire way, waiting for the supposedly bad tire to just fall off and planning in my head how I was going to handle each and every bad scenario that landed in my brain.

Discount Tire was busy for 10AM on a Wednesday morning — me and all the OAPs hanging out getting our tires issues sorted. The tires are fine and the TPMS is all normalized (again). Rationally, I knew this was going to be true, but anxiety eats away at all rationality. I spent time on the deck last night staring at Jeeves as if he was a monster because I could not stop thinking of worse case scenarios of having massive car issue 160 miles from home. THIS! Despite having insurance, an incredible maintenance and warranty plan, tow truck numbers programmed in my phone, and local numbers (now) for car repair, I could not let it go until the nice man at Discount Tire told me everything was going to be fine.

I got back to the cabin several hours later than intended as I ran a few errands since I was out and about. After having lunch, I started getting settled into doing research for the book around 4PM and here it is four hours later and fuck man, I am overwhelmed.

researchoverload

On Monday night I started culling all the random tidbits I had been collecting for the last 18 months and began to import them into Scrivener. I broke each thing down to its own category for easier sorting and updated the research page for the project in the process.

Today’s work was much of the same as I found more locales where I had stored bits and bobs. I think in my head I always fancied myself to keep things neat and simple, but apparently I keep trying to find the best product for everything, test it out, and ultimately forget it and all the content I stored there. Today the culprit was Pinboard, which while it seems to prove useful for many, I need visualization to organize.

(Still sitting on Pinboard  is a good chunk of research I found for my viking and medieval lady boners which still needs to be imported over to their respective Scrivener projects. Marginalia for the win!)

Granted Scrivener has a learning curve, but once you get in the groove it starts to really make sense. Best thing I’ve ever done? Put all my notes, ideas, and everything into a single Scrivener project.

storyideas

I’ve also been reading contemporary stories while I’m up here based in the Edwardian era – of which there is surprisingly not many.  I suspected with the rise of Downton Abbey that there would have been a huge influx of lit based in the Edwardian era, but no, there really isn’t. I know of less than half a dozen mystery series based in that era and handful of fiction books written in the last five years but that’s shockingly about it. Since I’m having a hard time finding contemporary books of that era, I’m going to create a bibliography over on my author site for read alikes. Because librarian, yolo.

I’m also collecting titles of works written in the era to read to get a better sense of the period. so watch it Lawrence, Forster, Galsworthy, and the whole lot of you. I am on to you. And lucky me, most of their work is available in the open domain.

(I finally finished Maugham’s Cakes & Ale, though written in 1930 much of the book takes place in the Edwardian era. Holy fuck, do I hate this book. It was just so awful for a large list of reasons I will be discussing later.)

Additionally, there is only a handful of sites dedicated to the Edwardian era and some of them are dubious in nature while others tuck that period in as very-late Victorian without giving the period its proper due. I was distressed to find that one of the sites that I had considered, due to the breadth of research and writing, to be a fabulous resource was passing on debunked knowledge as fact.

Case in point: I am supremely disappointed to discover Edwardian women did NOT pierce their nipples to make them more pert. This is repeated over and over again in many legitimate sites but apparently there is no reference other than to a correspondence page in the back of a publication from 1899 that was more of fetishism than actual fact.

I have a draft started for a blog post quaintly entitled, Who the fuck are the Edwardians and why should we care?, which I hope to write tomorrow. Because we should care, dammit.

whiterussian
Legit writer tools.

The mosquitos are eating me alive out here and it grows late. My treat for getting work done will be a vegan white russian, dinner, and a not so terrible book.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 2010, 1998

the gods ruffled their skirts

Dear Internet,

It’s late and I’ve just come back inside after hanging out on the front deck for a bit. It’s dark out; the kind of dark that is so deep and black, even the pin pricks made by the stars seem like interlopers to the night.

The kind of night made for Jason Voorhees.

(Last night was even spookier. The master bedroom is the in the loft of the cabin, I had the windows open and heard every movement by every beast in the area.)

I keep processing how geographically isolated I am right now. The nearest town is six miles down a straight road (or six miles in the other direction over a curvy road that hugs Lake Michigan) and while I have neighbors across the road who have lights on at their place, it could be for security rather than notification someone is at home. The only sounds I’ve heard all evening are the ticking of the clock in the main room of the cabin, the water heater and fridge kicking on and off, and the accordion sound of the plastic bag hung around the internal open exit of the metal chimney that used to connect to a gas stove.

To illustrate
To illustrate

(We discovered while the chimney is screened and capped outside, moths, rain, and other tiny creatures were still getting inside so TheHusband mcguyvered the bag to catch the detritus from the outside world. It works, but the downside is the bag moves when the wind moves so it blooms and closes with each movement. It’s alternately creepy to hear but also strangely soothing at the same time.)

I was feeling exhausted after my long day yesterday and put myself into bed at 8PM, with the laptop in tow. I started doing research for my book and when I eventually took a break, it was nearing 1AM. I took melatonin for the first time as I needed to get some relief to sleep without taking Klonopin, which when taken for consecutive periods, makes me feel drugged the following day. The melatonin worked as I was out within 10 minutes.

It worked so well, I didn’t wake up until nearly 11:30AM, 9.5 hours later.

I planned my day  around having dinner with my brother this evening, since I did not know how long that was going to take and I wanted to make sure I got a lot of work done before we went out.

That did not work out as well as I had hoped.

I was planning on doing more research and start working on the structure of the book when I realised tomorrow was the 16th anniversary of my online journal and I had planned on writing something to celebrate. The draft had been sitting for months as a reminder and I figured it would only take me a few hours to get it written, polished, and formatted and then I could continue with the rest of my plans.

I, regrettably, was horribly off on my time management.

I had the piece half done before my brother and his coworker showed up around 3PM and they were itching to have an early dinner. As the restaurant we were going to didn’t open until 4PM, that meant drinks until it was time to leave. On our way to the restaurant, the TPS was showing my front right tire was low on air, which was odd because I just had the tires checked on Monday before heading out of town.

After dinner, we drove to the village gas station/grocery store/pizza place/deli/butcher/movie rental place to check the pressure and all of the tires were registering at the right PSI. After picking up a few staples at the gas station/grocery store/pizza place/deli/butcher/movie rental place, I headed back to the cabin, parked, and read the owners manual to figure out what the fuck was going on. Apparently when the pressure of the tires is changed (and in this case, my tires were over inflated to 39 PSI instead of regulated 32 PSI), the TPS needs to be reset, which didn’t happen. I reset the TPS and the warning gauge finally cleared. However, my brother noted when following me into the village, my left rear driver’s tire was rotating at an odd angle, meaning it wasn’t rolling up and down but rather it looked like it was rolling more at an angle.

(The tire place I got my tires from has a store in Traverse City, so I’m going to be heading there tomorrow morning to have a check. If there is something majorly wrong, while there is no MINI dealer in the area there is a BMW one, so I should be fine.)

By the time I was done fucking with my car and getting back into the groove, it was coming on 6PM. I figured I had a good six more hours to work tonight, with maybe one MAYBE two hours geared towards finishing the anniversary piece.

That piece was finished at 10:30PM and came in at 2300 words. Then it was a break to sit outside for a bit, listen to the gods ruffle their skirts, and here we are.

Tomorrow I’m going to buckle down and start making progress on my large writing ToDo list. Right now the goal is to get up fairly early, get into town to have the tire looked at and dealt with and be back at the cabin no later than noon. Thursday, sans car issues, will be more of the same of writing. Friday I’m going kayaking with Emili, and Kristin is coming out to have bro time on Friday evening. On Saturday evening, Kristin and I are going to head up to the dark sky park to watch the stars with my telescope and camp out for the night. Sunday we head back to the cabin, and then we head to our respective homes.

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 2008, 1999