hapax legomenon

Dear Internet,
I’m procrastinating terribly. I have to finish (well, to be truthful, start) my homework for How Writers Write Fiction 2015, I have a review to write for Nerd Underground, I have a few reviews I need to get up for No Flying, No Tights.  PLUS! I have to possibly do some homework for a coding project I’ve been working on (waiting to find out if I’m in the group needing to complete this or not), prep for NaNoWriMo, Plus look for jobs, do yoga1, shower, and god knows what else I need to do today.
It doesn’t help I didn’t wake up until nearly 13:00.
My sleep has been off kilter these last two weeks and it shouldn’t come as any big surprise. I go to bed at a reasonable hour but getting up seems awful and terrible. I want to cozy down with Teddy2 and sleep the day away. But I get up eventually and do my things.
But today I procrastinate.


Monday I received a phone call from a local university if my references check out, they will be scheduling a phone interview. An email showed up today with the available times. I whooped and hollered about said email. I’ll be back in Louisville sometime this weekend and fingers crossed (and other appendages) I get this gig. The tuition remission is amazing: Up to 18 credit hours a semester. This could mean I could go for a third masters in Art History, or Writing, or something else completely. I can get a third bachelors in Italian or French. I am salivating at the thought.
Obviously, I need another degree.
Leaving my last position was of my own making, which isn’t really a determent on how I feel about the last 18 months. Really. But if I get this gig, that app would have been 160th CV I’ve sent this year. If I don’t get this gig, I’ll start applying in January when the academic cycle starts again.
I’m more thrilled at the thought of living on my own! Paying my own bills again! Having money to buy things! You know, all the good stuff.


Several of TheBassist’s friends got in touch with me in the last few days and well, it’s been good for my soul to sort things out. Some things were confirmed about what I assumed and made a small tear in my heart. But he has been adamant with them, and with me, I was his one and only and I take small pleasures with that information. I’m not so angry as I thought I should be because as I said, I was also party to this game. I can’t fault him too much, though I have tried.
I said to one of his friends:

I love him and I’ll always be in love with him. But I fell apart (not because of him, but it didn’t help) and I need to gain my whole self back. If he comes back, he does. If he doesn’t, well, he doesn’t. And I’m ok with that.

At the crux of it all will remain true for a very long time.
Meditation and yoga has been helping, which is a big part of the reason I’m not flying around on my broom stick wanting to physically eviscerate him. I feel pretty good actually! Not the, “I will say I’m feeling good and I don’t,” kind but the, “You know life is pretty okay at the moment. This was a temporary set-back and I will recover from it” kind.
What is bothering to me, and I think is worthy to be bothered about, was his direct request to tell him when I disappear from his life (which I took to assume he meant off of Facebook — because you know, it’s my “preferred method of communication”). So I told him. And the way Facebook works, much like texting, you can see if someone read your message or not. He hasn’t. I’ve been banished to the otherworld, much as he did to me before, much as he did to the women pre-me. As I mentioned this in previous posts, I get the radio silence — I’m his “kryptonite.” He often reiterated he could quit a lot of things but he couldn’t quit me. He even alluded and remarked on the break-up call he’s not too bright when it comes to leaving me alone and we very well could pick up future endeavors.
I write to understand, to look for patterns, to soothe my feelings. I will have to accept it is what it is and not anything more. There are a million and one reasons he said what he did (to break it gently, to be cruel). I hope not to continue on this path of naval gazing in regards to him. Not much more can be said or done at this point. I’ve aired my dirty laundry, I’ve done what I can to soothe myself on the past, present, and future.
Plus, I promised Krazy Kate I wouldn’t turn this from a post here or there to a fucking book.
So there’s that.


I’ve started to get excited for the Louisville move. It will be nice to see my things again, have my clothes in drawers and hung up in the closet. To unpack my books, put together my Lego MINI, to have a desk again and not sitting on these hard ass barstools as I’ve been wont to do these last two months. (Two months! Jesus.)
Louisville is becoming a lovely city, everything Grand Rapids is slowly becoming. There are a lot of active groups around town, a great music scene, bourbon, and great food. There is, of course, my requisite Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s (someone has to keep me up to cookie and cocoa swirl cookie butter. Delicious with pretzels).
TheExHusband lives in a condo downtown, which makes getting to a lot of things by foot. He’s around the corner from the soccer stadium, we caught a few games this summer, which also cheers me up. Plus the food. Did I mention the food? One of my favorite breakfast places ever is located on the first floor of his building.
So while I like Louisville but not really love it, it will be a good chance to kickstart my life. Which is more than I could ask for.


NaNoWriMo kicks off on Sunday and I’m going to wholeheartedly do it this year. (Ignore the 13 years, according to my profile, I have tried to “win” and never did.) I’ve been working on my Edwardian mystery during the Writer How To class and I’ve learned quite a bit on writing, structuring, and plotting. The first chapter, or so, sounds loads better than the first draft I started all those months ago. I’ve been plotting, in my head, how I want this story to flow and I think, hopefully, possibly, I can get it kicked off again.


I stretched a truth, more about TheBassist:
He attempted to argue, and I disagreed, he’s not a factor in my life. He’s holding me back. But knowing him, as I know him, if he check’s up on me, and see’s everything is going swell in my new locale, it will cement his desire not to contact me. He would be a determent to my life, he’d think, and I vehemently disagree on, even with his bad faults I swung around like a bat, there is so much he has given me; he IS a part of my life and I’d want him to share my success with him and hopefully we could work out the downsides.
Wishful thinking.
xoxo,
lisa
P.S. 1. Yoga circuit is as follows: Circuit 1: Greeting post, mountain pose (30 seconds each, rotated through 3 reps). Circuit 2: Superman, cobra, hare, diamond, and dancing shiva poses (15 seconds each, rotate through until completed 3 reps). Circuit 3: Shoulder/pec stretch (30 seconds each, 3 reps) and calf stretches, each leg, 30 seconds each, 3 reps.
2. Yes, I am a 43 year old woman who sleeps with her 40 year old teddy.

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This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 1998

home is where the…i have no bloody idea

(This piece is longer than I had intended so grab a cup of coffee or beverage of choice.)
Dear Internet,
I’m taking a break from working on the “How To Write Fiction” MOOC, and oh boy aren’t I in for a treat.
In the pre-week comments I stated I wanted to strip everything I knew about fiction and if the critiques I’ve received on my first draft are any indication, I’ve got a long way to go. (However the general underlying response was my first draft was intriguing, so I’ve got that going for me.) If I would have taken this class even a year ago, I would huff my work was perfect and the cleansing was not necessary. This time, I am not so angry that I’m throwing insults about “how dare they” around the cabin.
(Or maybe I’m still sedated from the Klonopin I took the night before.)
This is all prep work for NaNoWriMo, which I’m hoping will allow me jump start my novel, get a rough draft done, and so I can feel accomplished. I have plotted out some of the work, wrung my way through other;  fingers crossed I’ve not created a hot mess.
 


I’ve started using marginalia from the British Library’s collection again in the featured image as it is in the public domain, it’s pretty, and because I can.


I’m still sick because my body is an asshole and has nothing better to do. I’ve started week three of a cough I can’t shake, which I think has more to do with quitting smoking and getting rid of the crap in my lungs than being actually sick. Whatever the case I sound like death’s rattle when the coughing fit starts with the bonus of learning how to spit like a man.
Sexy.


We’re now inching towards the end of week two of TheExHusband’s jeep still indisposed. It’s sitting in a parking lot of the local mechanic who, it turns out, is the only mechanic on duty. TEH is adamant of giving the guy business since the shop recently did super minor work for free. It’s frustrating and endearing at the same time, with the lean towards frustrating than endearing. All plans have been canceled as we wait to find out the status of the damned thing, so goodbye East Coast, I still love you.
I’m championing selling the piece of shit for scrap and buying a new/used car from a dealership in Louisville rather than some shady garage (as he did this money hole a few summers ago). It’s a good shot I’ll be driving him down to Louisville once we find out the status of the Jeep (which I’m betting is a goner. If I’m repeating myself it is because it is my every desire the thing is beyond repair).
In the meantime I’ve had TheBassist ship me my winter things because it’s dropping into the low 40s and high 30s. There is a good chance if I’m still here by the end of the month or early November, there will be snow. Literally, winter is coming.


I’m 80% doing okay, taking into factor the most recent meltdown (that was three weeks ago? Fuck. It felt like yesterday.), the sickness, the Jeep bullshit, and other maladies. I’m anxious about the right things instead of jumping off the ledge about others.
It’s lovely to be at Throbbing Cabin in the summer and early fall for a week or two. I could handle a month, but we’re now closing in on two months in late fall and we’re getting close to becoming batshit crazy. The nearest villages are 10-12 miles away and the big city of Traverse City takes 30-40 minutes to get to. Three of the closest villages are tourist traps and after a while you get tired of $15 burgers and trunk slammers from Florida. I often go walking around our area but without a proper coat it gets a little chilly and I can only walk in certain areas thanks to the big hills and little valleys (and the goddamned golf courses).
I’ve completed 98 straight days of meditation. Tada!
Throbbing Cabin is 1000 sqft and surprisingly we’re not killing each other or fighting (just crazy from lack of things to do), which I consider with all the circumstances to be a small victory. TheExHusband turned on internet the first week I was up here, brought up a TV from the old house; which coupled with my Roku means we’ve got loads of things to keeps us entertained. He works all day in the second bedroom which we flipped into an office for him in the summer of 2014 while I work on the breakfast bar in the kitchen. We are more or less out of the other’s hair.
It’s cozy and we do not lack for anything. I have my coffee maker, there is a working regular stove and apartment sized fridge. The closest of all the villages has an all in one gas station / deli / pizza place/ grocery / video store. They even sell Lisa-milk and GF food stuffs. The village also has a post office, two resturants, a free library inside the bank, a meat shop, a knitting store, and a local art gallery. For laundry and weekly groceries, out to TC we go. The area is pretty much perfect except for the location and the so dark you can slice it with a light saber which does not make even a dent into the denseness. However, lack of light pollution does make for a pretty sky.
The cabin is well heated from several space heaters. While there is baseboard heat, the first winter we were here, and only for 2.5 weeks, the electric bill was $500. For 2.5 weeks. Two space heaters heating up this entire place will run TEH, for a month, around $150. The baseboard heat will only come on when it dips below freezing so the pipes don’t freeze, which if the weather is any indicator is going to be end of this week, early next.
(And my rush to get the fuck out of here is compounded by the storms of 2013-14 bought 240″ of snow to the area. That is not a typo.)
(I know I keep flipping between “we” and “his” when discussing about Throbbing Cabin because of all the work I’ve put in to it, it still feels like “mine” even though TEH got it in the divorce. I declined his offer of ownership as so much work needs to be done, such as $15-20K for a new septic tank and drain field. It’s lovely to visit but I don’t want to own this place. At all.)


I’m 1100 words in and I haven’t even touched the main point of this piece which is “home,” what it means, and how I want to achieve it. (This is inspired by Theodora Goss’ piece on a similar topic on crafting a life.)
Which is a very good question and the apex of my problems since I was born and one I keep struggling with it often takes over my life.
The original plan was to move to the East Coast, retreat for a few months, look for a job, and get a place of my own, preferably with TheBassist. The plan changed. Then it was to Grand Rapids for six months while I healed emotionally and mentally which turned out didn’t happen and it was suggested I couldn’t, shouldn’t, live alone. Then it was to Louisville, then CT. Now it’s at the cabin, then more than likely Louisville, then who the fuck nows. If I end up in Louisville longer than two months, it’ll be the first time I’ve stayed anywhere longer than 1/6th of a year since October 2014.
For all intents and purposes, I am homeless. My possessions, what is left, are at TheExHusband’s house. Some of my things are at TheBassist’s. I’ve pared down my car goods to between 1/3 – 1/2 of what I took to The East Coast last October. I’ve been living out of two small bags and a bag full of toiletries since the first week of September when I arrived at the cabin.
During all of this whiplashing around, the goal and my greatest desire has been a job, financial independence, and a place to call my own.
I’ve applied for, between writing and librarian career tracks, 150 jobs since February of 2015.  I’ve made a grand total of $150 off my writing since August. My day to day living funds ran out in July (TEH has been supplementing me since August). My mental health, while mostly stable now, still has it’s downsides (mostly brought on by pre-menstrual hormones these days). I’ve taken my crazy pills daily since November 2014. I’ve racked up (and half way pared down) nearly $40K in credit card debt within the last year.
These are the facts.
I’m not revealing the minute details for sympathy, understanding, or a handout. This is what it is. This has been the apex of my life since forever and a time ago.
What am I running from or who or why?
I’ve been moving house every two to three years since I was 13. Throbbing Manor, where I lived for four years, has been longest place I’ve lived on my own since I was 24. Prior to that, my mother changed our living locations every 2-3 years from ages 13 – 24. So insofar as actual living space, I do not know what home means.
(When I’ve been at TheBassist’s or TheExHusband’s, even if room was made for me in their space, it still feel like “their” space, not mine. I was just a temporary boarder who happened to be cute. (It should be noted that was never their intent to make me feel uncomfortable, they went above and beyond to make me comfortable, but that is how I often felt.))
It’s been remarked numerous times over the last 20 years I’m running from something because of the shifting or it’s a pathos of my disease. I’ve never known physical space as mine, it was always someone else’s, even when I’ve had roommates. I’ve always felt like a visitor instead of a primary occupant.
(Which is why if you’ve ever visited me at any of the places I’ve lived, there has hardly, if any, decoration to showcase my personality. Decoration was in the form of my clothes, which are cheap and easily disposable.)
I know I’ve romanticized where I want to live. Do I want an adorable apartment in a big city? A home of my own in a quaint little village? A flat somewhere in Europe? This parallels the kind of life I also romanticize. Jet set traveler? Famous writer? Raconteur around town?
I want to be everything, live every place, and be every person.
This, obviously, throws a wrench into daily life plan and reality, most which seems to blur together into one grey line.
If home cannot be about a place, then what about being with a person? If i could not feel at home with the two most important relationships in my life, TheBassist and TEH, then how does that bode for me? What does that say about me? I’m too frightened to forge a relationship with anyone, romantic or platonic? Why do I destroy everything that should be the best of my life?
If home is not about a place, or a person, what about the material things? I have my cases and cases of books, 50-60% I’ve now donated. My clothes, shoes, and accessories which I’ve significantly pared down and donated the rest. Personal objects or things I’ve picked up over the years, donated.
I’m cast adrift with no thing, person, or place to call my home.
If it’s not a place, or a person, or things. Then what is home and how do I get there?
xoxo,
Lisa
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This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2010, 2001

WIP: July writing schedule summary / August writing goals

Dear Internet,
I’ve been up at Throbbing Cabin since Wednesday with some of my favorite ladies for a weekend retreat, which is turning out fabulously. There has been beach time, s’mores time, lots of reading and down time, not getting out of our jimjams time, and lots and lots of drinking time. Tomorrow we are going to photograph Val walking on water for GISWSHES before heading back to our respective households. It’s been a lovely break from the world and I’m feeling recharged and maybe, just maybe, reborn.
True to my promise, here is this months writing roundup.
Italicized is the original list. Regular text is add-ons. Bold is completion and totals.
Projects for July:

  • Launch lisarabey.com finallyCompleted July 8
    • TheHusband got the website up and running pretty early on in the month, so yay!  I spent some time adding more back content and moving the Ephemera and other fiction-y sections over to lisarabey.com. There are a few bits and pieces that still need to be done, but the biggest chunk of the project is completed.
  • Plow through current library loans and ARCs from NetGalley and get reviews written
    • Was not as productive on this as I had hoped, but it is the beginning of August and I’ve already surpassed last year’s totals on books read, so I’m calling this a win.
  • Collate notes on the Edwardian mystery, continue with research, and get most of the structure sorted
    • Words written: 2500
    • I knocked out the first draft of the first chapter while at my retreat a week ago and started chapter two, but then LIFE happened and things have kind of stalled. I will be kickstarting this this week.
  • Start fleshing out 45th parallel story
  • Finish or shelve in-progress short stories and submit completed ones
    • Did not accomplish. Will work on next month
  • Get Vol 1 of secret Kindle project completed and online
    • This is turning out into a bigger project than I had originally envisioned. About the 1/4 of the way through and that’s already at 50 pages in the proper Kindle formatting. As I started, I realized that I was missing a lot of content to be added to the project, thus I went back and started on the back fill again. Going to shoot for end of August to have most of Vol 1 completed and edited.
  • Continue note carding ideas / quotes / etc for future projects
    • My note card box grows!
  • Get LLC sorted out – Completed July 25
    • LLC was finalized and I still need to do an entry on that process. I have secured a CPA; business checking and savings accounts opened, business credit card obtained, receipts kept, and domain has been purchased and is currently pointing to lisarabey.com. There are some minor work to be done, but the process is complete!
  • Query/submit at least half a dozen pieces
    • Two completed on July 11
    • Status: Both rejected, boo.
  • Blog writing count for July
    • Words written: 22,097
    • Number of posts: 36

August projects:

  • Plow through current library loans and ARCs from NetGalley and get reviews written
  • Collate notes on the Edwardian mystery, continue with research, and get most of the structure sorted
  • Collate notes on the 45th parallel project and continue with research
  • Research (aka read) stream of consciousness novels
  • Finish or shelve in-progress short stories and submit completed ones; submit at least one a week
  • Get most of Vol 1 of secret Kindle project formatted and edited
  • Continue note carding ideas / quotes / etc for future projects
  • Query/submit non-fiction pieces
  • Blog writing count for July

xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2012, 2008, 1998

WIP: July writing schedule

Dear Internet,
It’s mid late Sunday afternoon and we’re still up at Throbbing Cabin. TheHusband and I are teaching ourselves how to relax and he’s doing a fine job of it at the moment if his snoring is any indication by cleaning the gutters and other yard work.
Me, on the other hand? I‘m actually working but it’s the kind of work I love to do so it is actually fun, not work. Following him around the perimeter of the cabin with the shop vac on my shoulder so he can suck up all of the last years worth of leaves from the gutters.  And isn’t this what the whole adventure was to be about in the first place? 
Fuck. I was tricked into doing yard work.
Moving on. I am not allowing myself feel guilty for not getting much writing work done my first official week into this new venture. Domesticity had to be done and so it was and now that I have a sort of rhythm going to my day and making heavy use of my calendar, I’m sort of figuring out what direction I’m going in.
That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. When I’m not being tricked into doing yard work, that is.
Today’s writing task was to sort through all of my scraps stored on Google Drive and Dropbox, consolidate them and remove the duplicates, then import non-journal based things into a Scrivener project I manage for such works I titled Story Ideas. Story Ideas is my launching pad for all of my fiction writing as any idea, line, scrap of something lands up here and organized into one of seven main sections, Book Ideas, Story Ideas, Stories in Progress, OuttakesResearch, Scrivener Projects (projects with their own Scrivener project file), and Completed.
Most of this is pretty self-explanatory except perhaps for Outtakes which is chunks of writing I’ve removed for whatever reason and did not want to trash and Research, which is links to things I want to dig into more but not sure what for just yet.
This task turned into the rabbit hole of all holes as I have folders inside of folders in various places across Dropbox and Google Drive. I’ve now made a ToDo item to dig more to figure out what each piece is (journal entry? prose? short story? something else entirely?) and sort it out later. Everything that could easily sorted today got moved into Scrivener to keep it all in one location.
Right now the stats are

  • 46 story ideas (various states)
  • 16 book ideas (mainly first few chapters, synopsis, and related material)
  • 8 short stories in progress (most are near completion)
  • 8 notes in Research
  • 4 completed short stories
  • 2 existing Scrivener projects

This does not include all the notes I’ve made in paper journals or index cards not yet transferred, notes made in SimpleMind for an Icelandic saga cycle I’m working on, or what other treasures are still lurking on my drives.
(If this all sounds impressive, it is and isn’t. I had no idea the sheer amount of prolificness BUT  a lot of it is dreck. I’ve got NaNoWriMo projects dating back to 2001 (and novels started as far back as 1999) that are very clear indicators of what I was into at the time, which isn’t the same as I am into now. 95% of this will probably never see the light of day as it’s pretty bad, thank fuck.)
The big thing I need is accountability, because this current organization in its natural chaotic state is a hot mess.
At the beginning of the month I’ll put up my writing plan and at the end, summarize what I did. I’m not going to do word counts (yet) because I have no idea how to apply it realistically. From June 28th – July 5th, on the blog alone, I cranked out 9, 724 words over 13 blog posts. That’s not including work I’ve done on note taking, story editing, and anything else since I don’t have those numbers. So word counts are out (for now).
Additionally, TheHusband wants to see some kind of timeline of my work progress so he knows when he needs me to crack the whip or for me to calm the fuck down. All very civilized in our household.
Behold! Projects for July:

  • Launch lisarabey.com finally
  • Plow through current library loans and ARCs from NetGalley and get reviews written
  • Collate notes on the Edwardian mystery, continue with research, and get most of the structure sorted
  • Start fleshing out 45th parallel story
  • Finish or shelve in-progress short stories and submit completed ones
  • Get Vol 1 of secret Kindle project completed and online
  • Continue note carding ideas / quotes / etc for future projects

Is this a lot? It feels like a lot but at the same time it feels like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what I feel what needs to be done.
When I check in 25 days, we’ll see how it went!
xoxo,
Lisa

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2003

jewel in the realm

A painting of the bhavacakra. Courtsey of Wikipedia Creative Commons.
A painting of the bhavacakra.
Courtsey of Wikipedia Creative Commons.

Dear Internet,
For you word stat nerds out there, I’ve written nearly 11,000 words in the last 13 days or about 826 words a day. This is not too shabby considering I had no word goal in mind, but I am pleased this is closer to the 1k mark. If this were NaNoWriMo, I would be half a month behind already – the average per day to make your 50K word count at the end of the month is 1666 words per day. This is the first time in a long time, if ever, that I’ve posted something every day for any specific amount of time. That’s worthy of a,”Fuck yeah!”  if I ever heard of one.
The week is catching up with and  as it progresses, I find myself becoming more of the dutiful old lady than I care to admit. My schedule has been pretty regulated with early morning appointments and teaching assignments.  I get up when the alarm goes off, I get dressed, I have my usual breakfast, head to my first appointment, and out of my rest of my day, 75% will be split up between teaching, meetings, and manning the reference desk. I try to keep up on everything but I will be always perpetually behind. When I get home, I prep for the next day, have dinner, and then shut down until I fall sleep.
I’m currently having a love affair with our hot air popcorn popper, to the point I’ve started eschewing dinner and head to the main attraction instead. I eat a lot of popcorn, several bags a day and it got to the point TheHusband finally made the suggestion I should probably get the hot air popper to streamline my consumption process. I blame my mother for her love of the stuff, of which she ate tons of while pregnant with me.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         I’m starting to fall asleep at the computer so I’ll keep this short and bid you adieu.
x0x0,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe:

Crab Canapes and Christmas Pudding

Dear Internet,
Tomorrow I go back to work as my holiday break is now over, thus things may slow down around here after my mania output for the last few weeks. It’s now eight days into the new year and I thought it would be a good idea to give up an update as to how  my proposed changes are coming along.
(I’m still tap dancing around the notes that need to be finished for body and health pieces, but I’m just not there yet.)

  • Buy Nothing in 2013
    I promise I will not tell a lie: I have spent money on non-essentials this year, totaling $90.26, but it was for very good causes. Two of the items, a yearly subscription to Duotrope and the fall issue of Jane Austen Knits, were items I planned to buy in December but forgot until after January 1. I know I’ll probably end up purchasing a license for Licorize sometime later this week, but that’s a one time cost. Removing myself from temptation has been huge. I also am ignoring anything Margaret posts because I almost always end up buying what she suggests.  Anything I have found has gotten pinned or added to my wish list. Side bonus: Removing myself from vendor catalogs has slowed amount of junk mail in our mailbox.
  • 2013 will be the year of creativity (even if it kills me)
    I’ve only really worked on the cooking and knitting stuff, which have been slow going as one meal a day is a green smoothie of some sort, lunch is usually a salad, and dinner is something we come up together. Our timing is going to change once I go back to work tomorrow, so not too much to report.  In the knitting area, I’ve almost finished my brother’s hat and will be working on fingerless gloves for me next.
  • Year of the written word
    The goal was to write at EPbaB five times a week, at about 250 words per piece, and 10 hours a week writing fiction. In the last 8 days, I’ve published something here everyday except for one and in space of 7 published days, the pieces here totaled 4992 words. In fiction writing, the goal was to write a short story a month and get something published by my birthday. I’ve finished one story a few days ago and I’m starting on a second. I have two additional stories in draft form that also need to be finished.  So far, these goals are being met. But again, with work starting back up for me tomorrow, this output is more than likely slow down. The second bit of this challenge was to read everything I’ve had on hand – which I’ve not really done, but I am still shooting for finishing a book a week.
  • teh interwebs
    This was by far the best thing I’ve done as my inbox is so quiet right now, it’s kind of frightening. I did go so far as to unsubscribe from several of my favorite retailers emails, in addition to paring down other vendor emails to once a week or month. I’ve stuck with following vendors in one format instead of all of the ones they offer, which has also helped considerably. I almost did purchase a domain, one I was eyeing on in late November but didn’t follow through at the time, but refrained from doing so. I spent several days paring and cleaning up my RSS feeds, but that may end up just being a lost cause for the moment. I’ve not started putting together a workflow for the archives.

I’ve struggling as to how to articulate how I’m feeling today, and lately, finding it is much harder than I had hoped. The 900mg of Lithium has definitely leveled me out as far as moods go. I fake raged to TheHusband, while feebly pounding against his chest, if this was what being happy was like, then I’m not sure I could deal with it. Most of the side effects of lithium have dissipated, and I’m feeling pretty much, overall, okay. I’m still freezing all the time (and we’re on track for January to be our warmest month on record), but I have no evidence to say this is because of Lithium or not. But I’m far enough away from being without lithium to know the difference between when I’m on it and when I’m not. I’ve not gained weight and I am drinking a lot of water, so I do not feel dehydrated as one would think for taking a salt.
Concerta on the other hand is tricky – very tricky. I need to take it no later than 9AM, for if I do, I’m apt to be up all night. If I go a day without it, I can still sit and work without being all over the place. If I go two days without it, then it’s like I was before and like nothing has changed. I get small bouts of mania, but these seem further afield than before and seem to be random, meaning there is no trigger. My headaches are mostly gone.
In the before, I was very passionate about some things and mildly interested in others. In the during, I had zero interest in anything, and to some extent, to anyone. I could not feel or love what it was to feel or love. I did things because I knew how to already do them and I knew that they needed to be done.  Robotic. I could muster energy to feel something about tiny things, but larger things were passed over. I did not think of myself as being depressed until much later for I did not act like those I knew to be depressed acted. I did not see myself as being manic because I did not act like those I knew to be manic acted. Something was wrong, but to what extent that wrongness and/or what was needed to fix it si still remain to be seen. Well. We know, but whether this snake oil is actually working remains to be seen.
There you are. Here I am.
x0x0,
Lisa

Uppity Women (NaNoWriMo Day #4)


Today’s word count: 507
Total word count: 1368
Dear Internet,
Note to self: A dinner of Lucky Charms, chased with a half bottle of Witches’ Brew, is probably not one of my more ingenious ideas.
I want to thank everyone for reading, sharing, and commenting on yesterday’s post. We’ve been having some really great conversations on Twitter as well, and I’m loving all the thoughtful commentary. The page is also been shared quite a bit across the social networks, which is also a bonus. Thank you to everyone for participating in this very important conversation.
While TheHusband is one of my biggest champions, he’s often one of the least likely ones to read my blog. This mostly has to do with how sporadic my updates have been over the last few years as compared to the last four days where this will be post #6. I also calculated the word count those posts are at about 5,000 words. My NaNoWriMo piece, well, not so much, but I’ll get to that in a second.
This morning while we were getting ready to head out for the day of errands, he seemed pretty excited by my story idea, which of course got me talking about what I wanted to do. We spent the better part of an hour with me verbally walking through some things about the story, what I liked, my ideas, what wasn’t working. We continued this later, over lunch, where we started drawing up an outline so that I could work from that.
His hypothesis was there were two types of writers in the world: Those who outline and need the skeleton before the flesh, and those who write and need just the flesh. (He listened to every episode of CBC Writer’s and Company from the last three years, thus the basis for his explanation.) He says my problem, or style, is that I write from the flesh AND I over edit. A paragraph could take me four hours. There is a beauty in that, for word precision is very important to me but that is obviously not going to work for NaNoWriMo.
To which I agree.
As we had left late in the morning, our errands were done by mid-afternoon, which would give me about six or so hours to write before Sunday night television kicked in. I was pretty excited about having that much time blocked off with all of my day’s chores done.
Except, I didn’t write. I read Facebook, Twitter, mailing list emails, Google reader and as well as wrote postcards. I had opened up Scrivener as soon as I sat at my desk and kept in running in the background, tabbing to it every so often to stare in petulance at it before tabbing back to whatever I was doing.
I even started answering the political robocalls.
But I wrote nothing.
Nearly every interview or piece I’ve ever read about writing, the author in question always, always, always mentions that in order to write, you must read. Read in your genre, your interests, outside your interests. Doesn’t matter, just read. A particular situation that worked in one story, could be tweaked for yours. As I noted in June , I knew I was depressed when I stopped reading or listening to music. I used to read 10 books a month, now I’m lucky if I will do that every six. I found when I started reading Game of Thrones this week, the connection to reading and writing became clear. Ideas were coming, sometimes fast and furious, as I traveled around Westeros. I got what those authors were throwing down.
(I’ve also read enough interviews of authors where they are often asked, “What are you influences/where do you get your ideas?” and they come off with a flippant reply that ideas are everywhere / from their brain / I make everything up or some other they-think-is-clever response. These authors, some very well known, are full of shit. You read, you get ideas, you make your own connections, you write. It’s cyclic. It’s simple. It’s not magic, no matter how much you want it to be.)
But today! Today after talking and walking through ideas, nothing came to pass. I was worried, I told TheHusband, for I started in one direction and now I have to change it fit this new theme. I’m even changing point of view (first to third) and that means I have to re-write everything. He argued with me, of course, for he said that you should continue in the new path and worry about the opening stuff later.
But I need to read what I have written in continuity to make sure it is making sense! He told me I was procastinating and sent me back to my desk.
I huffed in indignation like a three year old, grabbed my laptop, the notebook with story notes, and with Wednesday trailing behind me, came down to our dining room. Why I thought changing location, where TheHusband was arguing the Internet was possibly my real detrator, would help, I had no fucking idea. I thought perhaps liberal liquid lubrication would be helpful, so I uncorked a bottle of cheap wine and sat down.
And I began to write.
The take away from all of this: I need to develop a drinking habit to get things done.
There are a couple of things about this NaNoWriMo that are important to me: Finish a story, possibly in book form, write it in third person, and make it interesting. I know I can do this, I know that I want to do this, I need to stop allowing the oooh shiny from distracting me.
Or start visiting my local adult beverage store more often.
ttfn,
Lisa

Need vs Want

Dear Internet,
When I came home from work today, I found myself bemused in my driveway when I realized I had not thought of or worked on my NaNoWriMo story at all today. Now that I’m getting back to working five days a week instead of three, I’m still working on a schedule to make everything fit. I’ve also taken on a part-time gig for a committee work I’m involved with at MPOW, which I have to also get cracking on as well this weekend.
Balance.
Our plans for the evening was to head to a concert, which we ended up bailing on as TheHusband wasn’t feeling well and I was feeling tired. My body seems more delicate then I remember it ever being, which seems exacerbated by the complications of my recovery from my arthritis surgery in June. If you’re not following me on across the usual haunts, the tl;dr version is this:

June 28th, I had arthritis surgery on my right ankle to remove nearly 20 years of bone chip/spurs from my original accident in 1995. I was planning on being down for the count for a few weeks, but I was bed bound for nearly 2.5 months and out of work for nearly three months. The number of times I left the house, nay went downstairs, during July and August can be counted on one hand, with some left over. My recovery has been so slow1 they have installed a wound vac, which I wear 24/7 and I have to charge up nightly.

While I was eating my dinner tonight of rather bland canned soup, I was flipping through several back issues of The Writer and Writer’s Digest. As I read quips, advice, and interviews, the one thing that kept popping up in my brain was the idea of need vs want in genre writing. I want to write thought provoking but not necessarily heavy stories while I need to write the dark and spooky stuff to work out all of my monsters. I mused that when constructing characters, I try so desperately to keep bits of me out of them, the darker bits, for reasons only known to my subconscious self. My heart tells me I’m not ready to go down that road right now, that writing the fluffier pieces will help get me off the ground. The fluffier pieces may be good, but the darker pieces is what will create my mythos.
I’m keeping those monsters at bay, until the time when I can properly pull them out slowly, one by one, into the daylight to acclimate them to this outer world. Then perhaps they won’t seem so scary.
ttfn,
Lisa

1. The first question I hear is, “Are you diabetic?” so I’ll just cut you off at the chase and tell you that no, I’m not diabetic. Yes, I do get checked on a regular basis. No, I do not have poor circulation. No, I am not a smoker and have not been one for a very long time. No, they do not know why it is taking me so long to heal. Yes, I’m getting checked by the doctors on a bi-monthly basis.

NaNoWriMo: Day #1


Dear Internet,
Today’s word count: 861
Total word count: 861
One of the projects I worked on over the summer was consolidating my writing into a manageable organization to figure out what needed work, what didn’t and so on. I found all of my Scrivener files floating around various locations, consolidated them into one central location, and was pleasantly surprised to see how much notes and writing I had done on previous existing works. I spent a couple of hours reading and making mental notes because truthfully, I had no idea what I was going to write this time around other than I knew I had to write. I was hoping to put together ome kind of outline or plan, but even with some works in progress, this felt like it needed to be more off the cuff then researched based. Plus, I’ve also been bursting with so many ideas that it is hard to decide which one needs the love most of all.
I found a couple of pieces I had started writing from way back when and pulled bits of what I liked from them, using those ideas to craft something new. I cranked out almost 900 words in about 1.25 hours, which is pretty awesome I say. I know tomorrow, Friday, is going to be hard to steal time to write and I plan on making up most of the slack this weekend. I also need to start constructing something resembling a plot so I can get this project moving forward.
Here is what I’ve come up with: Unnamed female (so far), whom we’ll call Jane Doe for now, wakes up to the looming faces of her best friends to find out she’s lost several days. In panic, and concern, they reach out to one of Jane’s family members, a great aunt, who owns a store of some sort in norther Michigan, specifically on the 45th parellel. Her friends pack Jane, her dog Gaston, and most of her belongings into Jane’s car to send her to this mysterious to figure out her life.
Here is what I know:

  • From the 900 words, with very little written description  I know Jane is a blonde, ex-smoker who cheats like mad, and likes old technology. She’s angry, confused, and brave. She doesn’t know what happened, but she knows she’ll find the answer sooner or later. She has a dog named Gaston who is trained to respond to unique keywords. For example, “Chocolate chips” is his cue to go into attack mode. All of her immediate family is missing/presumed dead and she is an only child (this part may change).
  • Her aunt is going to be Nanny Ogg from Discworld mixed with Mrs. Roper from Three’s Company. Her store (yet undetermined) will also act as a meeting place for the local supernatural/paranormal world. Jane doesn’t know it yet, but her family has some special skills. This also will help explain her missing/dead parents.
    • A year or so ago, I was digging around for conspiracies about the 45th parellel and came up with, well, quite a bit. There were once thought to be magical properties and a major ley line, so if there is any good place to have a paranormal world, this would be it.
  • A couple of years ago, I wrote a very detailed sequence of events of how one of my characters lost time, but it doesn’t quite fit in here. I’ll see what I can beat into submission.
  • I recently read about when the British moved from Julian to Gregorian calendar in 1752, that Wednesday September 2 moved into Thursday September 14 to make up for the drift of time over the centuries. I’ve been toying with the idea this “lost time” as it were, plays into my story. Think of something along the lines of Jasper Fforde’s Thursday Next novels, except significantly less funny.
  • I’m debating on creating a new village in the area I am placing Jane or usigng an existing one. Jury is still out on this.
  • NaNoWriMo doesn’t have genre to fit this but it will best be described as paranormal/mystery/magical realism with a dash of quirk.
  • No romance unless it somehow moves the plot forward and pairing will not be the end all/be all for the final.
  • This will not be the great American-Canadian novel and I’m okay with that.

This should be enough to get me going for awhile.
More tomorrow.
TTFN,
Lisa

First Maker of Poetry: NaNoWriMo 2012

Dear Internet,
As my convalescence was ending in August,  I worked out a plan to jump start my writing as all the voices in my head were beginning to drive me to distraction. It was them or me. But as time marched on, my mobility has improved, and lifetm keeps getting in the way, some of those promises have gone to the wayside. I found when TheHusband would chain me to my desk and demand I write 1000 words, I could do that fairly easily, even with just a kernel of an idea. So with that in mind, I decided I’m going to use National Novel Writing Month as the public shame (in addition to TheHusband’s) to push myself back on track.
Goals

  • Write five days a week, 2500 words each day
    • Space break days apart.
    • Adjust word count appropriately if missed more then two break days
    • Does not include outlining or research
  • Blog five days a week, 250-500 words each piece
    • Blog pieces can be on any topic
    • Alpha/beta reading does not count towards blog pieces since these are private
  • No editing
  • No website design changes. Period.
  • Excluding household chores and the occasional eating, non-NaNoWriMo related activities (TV, cross-stitching, knitting, etc) are on hold until days word count has been reached

How you can support

 
Fingers crossed,
Lisa