“Do you have the balls to wear it?”

Looking out into Edinburgh.
View of Edinburgh from the castle, 2006

Dear Internet,
I am feeling out of sorts today primarily due to the bloodwolves have started sniffing around House Rabey, coupled with work pressure as this is the last week before the end of the semester. I have also been doing a lot of writing for work and profesh related things, so I need a break from looking at a computer screen for awhile. I thought instead of writing, I’d offer up more images from my grand adventures across the seas. As always, you can find more at this collection on Flickr.
Basílica de la Sagrada Família
Basílica de la Sagrada Família, Barcelona, 2004

Basildon Park (Netherfield).
Basildon Park (Netherfield in Pride and Prejudice 2005), England, 2008.

images 154
Vatican Museum, Vatican City, Italy, 2005.

Paris: May 2010
Paris, May 2010

Pimp your kot!
Pimp your kot!, Brussels 2010

"Do you have the balls to wear it?"
“Do you have the balls to wear it?”, Edinburgh 2006

xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe:

practical uses for a bidet

Impersonation of dramatic monologue
My impersonation of dramatic monologue, Trevi Fountain, Rome, 2005.

Dear Internet,
TheHusband and I opted to head out to dinner when we got out of work Wednesday night (“Jesus Lisa! Why must every outing turn into a trip to Target?”). Over our plates of meat (after our trip to Target AND Staples), we ended up having a good discussion on writing. He says this compulsion of mine to over share my self-absorption is cheapening my talent (“You’re not writing for meaning, you’re writing to fill the space”), which lead into a conversation about what writing means as a whole, what it means to me and what I want it to represent. TheHusband is obsessed with CBC’s Writers and Company podcast which he uses as his basis for everything and anything when it comes to writing. So he judges me, fairly or not, to the quality of those who came before me but on a much grander scale.
TARDIS! No, just a police info box, Royal Mile, Edinburgh 2006
TARDIS! No, just a police info box, Royal Mile, Edinburgh 2006.

Unfair? It is my carrot to succeed. If HE thinks I can be as good as this person, then the world can grovel at my feet.
There are times when I am feeling choked upon the ground, unable to get out what it is I want to say in the manner that I need to say it. I’ve noticed the more stable I am feeling mentally, the less forthcoming the muse is. My purest power is when I’m manic, so it is a shame I cannot turn this disease on and off like a switch because if I could, I would make my life a whole lot easier.
Stonehenge
Stonehenge, 2008.

Trying to balance my own mental disability without drugs while living a full life while then attempting to use said broken brain for MOAR work is exhausting. And taxing. But especially exhausting. But I feel, as I’m sure you’ve guessed, as this is my life line and I cannot let go.
I do agree that not every day is like sunshine and rainbows around here, but my argument is neither is life. To wish for everything to be perfection is ludicrous. I live and thrive in the chaos and uncertainty of what exists here in this space. But I know not everyone is in agreement, but it should be remembered I am here for me and not for them. The fact you are reading this is a delicious bonus.
Corfe Castle.
Corfe Castle, Dorset, England, 2008.

As work is wrapping down for the semester before winter break, I’ve decided to make the next few days image heavy from pictures of my various romps around Europe while I get sorted on some kind of schedule and process for writing. A few days ago, I gave TheHusband a few short stories to edit which I heard some grumping about how much work said editing was going to take because the stories were that bad. It’s hard to swallow the imperfections, I want to believe everything is as it should be and just call it experimental. Rather, I will re-read the pieces, guffaw at the obvious problems and fix them.
In the interim, enjoy your trip to Scotland, France, England, Belgium, and the Netherlands.
One of the many roads into the Red Light District, Amsterdam, 5 AM
One of the many roads into the Red Light District, Amsterdam, 5 AM. May 2010.

Interior, Pelgrom, Antwerp
Pelgrom Bar, Antwerp is a pub/bar/restaurant located in a medieval cellar in the Old City. The entire ambiance was fabulous as the entire place was lit by candles. May 2010.

Hammish, the hairy coo.
Hamish, the hairy coo. Highlands, Scotland, 2006.

We found a use for the bidet
Practical uses for a bidet while in Rome. 2005.

Marseille, 2004
Marseille, 2004

Trinity College, Cambridge
Trinity College, Cambridge, England 2012.

xoxo,
Lisa

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2008

Brevis in longo

Dear Internet,
Apparently, I’m pretty prolific. In addition to upping my writing here, I’ve also been writing every day in DayOne, which I mentioned here, and also actually working on my fiction. There is one thing to be said for a humanities scholar: We know how to crank out verbiage like no one’s business. Between the three, and this is including the re-writes of public blog entires and the fiction, I’m cranking out about 5,000 words a day. And that is being conservative. Now how much of that is “good” writing? Hard to say, really. My writing in the public sphere tends to be tighter since I obsess over the editing, the writing on the private journal has better readability (because I an writing more freely and more about the minutia of my life), while the fiction writing is still uneven in a deckled edged way. Some of what I produce for the fiction side is dreck and other times, it’s pure gold.
(Also, I decided to style myself as a modern day Samuel Pepys, at least in my head.)
I think one of the reasons why this is becoming a lot easier is that I have finally figured out a system that works for me to keep all of this organized which was so problematic for me for years. I know, it’s crazy considering that I organize shit for a living, but I couldn’t organize my writing to really work for me until now. Finding the Day One app was probably the tipping point, and also being a heavy user of Evernote and Scrivener also helped.
Here’s the status of my current projects, and which will find it’s way to Readers. The main landing page for my writing will also have all posts about this topic on the page, and if a project has their own landing page, those too will have posts updated on their landing page. Thus, if you’re hot into Edwardian good times but not Viking gore, you can skip directly to the landing page for the Edwardian projet instead of slogging through all the posts about Vikings and everything else.

Books

Project Name: Cabinet Particulier
Status: Research
Details of the project on its own page, so I won’t repost them here. I started collecting the research in July and currently haven’t moved forward yet other than doing the readings. Ideally, I see this as a pretty big project (read book series) so I want to get it off to a good start and I have a vague idea of how the first book will go, I want to dig deeper into her world before I begin writing.
Project name: Unnamed Medieval project
Status: Idea formation and preliminary research
Details: At this point I know it’s going to concern a woman, possibly in Scotland, sometime before 1066. Possibly containing Vikings.

Short Fiction

Title: PETITIONS OF THE GODS
Status: 80% finished
Summary: From my notes: Anonymous protagonist gives background on the invitation, a brief history of the Althing, and beginning of the world creation.Our protagonist is losing power and she knows this. The struggle with her, and with others like her, is how to remain relevant in a world when less number of people are believing in them. What would you do to stay relevant?
The beginning and ending are strong, but I’m floundering in the middle. It’s already at 2500 words with some heavy revision in the last week, so much so that the outtakes have their own folder in Scrivener. TheHusband read one of the first drafts and liked a lot of the clever uses for explanation of things but I can’t unstick the sticky at the moment. While I think this is at 80%, I would not be surprised if I end up ripping it entirely apart and restructuring all of it.
Title: AD LIBITUM
Status: 80% finished
Summary: What happens inside the Sistine chapel when no one is looking? Answer: Sex, drugs, and disco.
Idea sparked a “what if” when reading an article tonight about Russia’s Golden Ring and the author wrote eloquently about the medieval cathedrals and churches they were visiting. The line, “Jesus jumped off the cross, stretched, and went to light a cigarette.”, which sparked the idea of what in the hell happens in a cathedral at night when no one is around? Within minutes, I found this gorgeous virtual tour of the Sistine Chapel and the story started writing itself.

———————————-

So far, I have nearly a dozen people signed up for Readers, which is awesome. I haven’t decided if I should close the request at this point or keep it open. I had planned on start pushing some of my older stuff through the list to get those cleaned up and publishable, but after reading through many of them decided not to. They are that wretched or I am not into the genre as much anymore or the story just doesn’t appeal to me. So they will stay buried in the digital trunk.
I’m so motivated to be creating again but I keep thinking what do I want to do with the stuff that I create? I definitely want it to be read by the world, but how to go about that is tap dancing in the back of my brain. Having been a bookseller for many years, I work now as a librarian, and then throw in all the writers, literary agents, artists, booksellers, and other people in the publishing world I either know personally or stalk online, I feel pretty grounded on the back end o the industry. I just want to make sure that I do the right thing by my work.
I was pretty thrilled to discover Duotrope yesterday in my quest to sort out submission organization for at least the short pieces because my librarian-fu was actually failing me looking for a comprehensive source for magazines, literary zines, and other such publications to submit my work to. At the very least, I know this is the path I want to take with my shorter fiction. I’m also thinking of some kind of crowdsourcing shenanigans might also be in place too. This is going to be amazing.
TTFN,
Lisa

Everyone should have a god and Byron is mine: new blog headers

Rome 2005, praying to ye master, Lord Byron
Rome 2005, praying to ye master, Lord Byron

Just a short note that I’ve changed the headers on the blog, which are rotating by the way, to images from my international travels. So far I’ve jumped the pond to Spain/France (2004), Rome (2005), Edinburgh/Highlands (2006), Reading/London/SW England (2008), Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam (2010). Flipping through the images always makes me long for the nights and beer in Scotland, the warmth and food in Italy and the people watching in Barcelona.
In serious, non-pretentious fucktwattery what does actually occur in my brain is how badly I need to learn how to use my cameras. Many of the pics from Rome (2005) are almost worthless for anything except for viewing on the web as the pixelation is so poor, printing and extensive editing are out. Our honeymoon pictures (Paris/Brussels/Amsterdam (2010)) are an interesting case study because we’ve got plenty of room for fudging about since we shot the images in raw format but not having trained on our beast of a camera before leaving leaves some pretty poor images as well. But that will soon be rectified as I’ve been learning how to use the damned camera, though several months too late. It also doesn’t help that we found out, after we came back, that the OEM lens is pretty poor. The goal right now is to get a better handle on using our camera.
I finally found the images from my Spain/France (2004) trip and will be working on those along with my honeymoon photos at some point in the near future. I just recently uploaded the last of the photos my UK (2008) trip, so I’m obviously not in a huge hurry.
If you hold down shift + reload, the header should rotate through seven different header images: Two from Paris, one from Rome, three from Scotland and one ‘henged image. If you’re interested in what I have uploaded from my trips thus far, you can find all of my (and our) trips on Flickr.

culture shock

Chris and I had a conversation the other day on our own perspective of what the Midwest meant to us. Chris grew up in tiny hamlets (population of several thousand), while I criss-crossed from Port Huron to Toronto. It was with that conversation that I realised that my own perception of the Midwest, and the world in general, was not what I thought it should or could be. Because I had lived and visited extensively to several metro areas while still a child, I understood a better sense of my gypsy-like lifestyle more so than I did ever before. That alone was perhaps one of the greatest realisations of myself that I have had in current history.
I’ve always talked about the fact that there are two Lisas — one that harbors the home and hearth fantasy while the other sees herself as jet setting across the globe. It’s difficult to reconcile the two, finding a place where I fit in without feeling claustrophobic. Someone once said that my own pre-determined destinies would only come true if I let them — as I had often remarked that I was going to end up being the old hag at the end of a bar, wearing my faux fur and jewels while slugging back vodkas and chain smoking, while regaling of all my love affairs with men that got progressively younger. On the other hand, there is the aging Lisa bouncing my grandchildren on my knee while regaling of all my adventures around the world.
At the Caffe Accademica, near the Piazza di Spagna, inside the putrid smelling bathrooms, graffiti was written by women from all over the world. I had wished I had a pen with me, to leave my mark on that bathroom wall, to note that “Lisa was here.” Who we are but memories that we create with others and memories that we create within ourselves.
Life is about ambience and adventure. Even when we got detoured from the metro the other day, our walk to Termini through Chinatown was an adventure. Our getting lost was an adventure. Life is nothing more than a series of getting lost from location to location and hoping to hell you can find your way back. It’s not just about the tourist sites and the souvenirs collected on your travels, but the impressions that you impart and take with you as you go. I wish that I had the photography training to capture the images of the people as we walked, because I wanted to remember the look of the lovers who were snogging besides us the restaurant or the old couple who walked happily down Via ottavio towards the Vatican, hand in hand.
When I had move to the Bay Area in 1997, one of my friends there notated as we walked down Telegraph Rd. in Berkeley — that I seemed to fit in. This chameleon like trait has been a curse, I thought, since high school when I meshed from social group to social group. And I think that is why I don’t feel so intimidated being in a different country. Sure, the culture is different and the people are different but in the end, we really are all just the same. I could see myself living here, just as I could see myself living in Barcelona or in the South of France (I’m not terribly crazy about Paris but perhaps if I had spent more time in the city, that too would have changed). I feel confident that I could go anywhere in the world and blend in, without having too much of a terrible difficulty getting around. Perhaps I should just accept my fate that I am a world citizen, not a citizen of a particular country or city.