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.

P.P.S. Don’t want near daily emails or can’t make it here everyday but want to keep up with what’s going in my world? Subscribe to A Most Unreliable Narrator, a monthly-ish newsletter roundup of what’s happening. Bonus! Comes with GIFs!

This Day in Lisa-Universe: 2013, 1998

Read. Write. Everyday.

Dear Internet,

Rules on how to be a successful writer are as fluid as how to be a successful librarian. Everyone and their sixteen cousins has an opinion on what the “right” or “correct” way to get ahead in this tough industry. I’ve been reading blogs, books, magazines on/about writing for years and the only consistent everyone agrees upon is:

Read. Write. Everyday.

That’s the easy part. Now that’s done, you start asking harder questions such as: Where to submit? How to submit? Should I go indie or should I go traditional? How do I invoice for work? How do I do X,Y,Z? What kind of coffee should I be drinking? Should I brush my teeth today? I mean, there are a fuck ton of questions and ten times the answers.

It’s overwhelming. Confusing. Often contradictory. No wonder people give up.

I’m friends with a lot of writers: some who are traditionally published, others who are indie, and others yet who a hybrid of the two. Most write fiction, some also write in other areas such as articles for news sites, non-fiction, graphic novels, and everything in between. Some dabble in other arts or may have a job or a career in a field not related to their work. But the common thread between all of them is that like librarianship, calling yourself a “writer” really on scratches the surface. It can mean anything and everything in one go.

You write? You’re a writer. Simple. It’s great if you have a tight story and your prose is perfect, but unless you’re content to write for yourself and not have the world see your work, this is the hard shit. The difficult shit. Writing is actually the easy part, it’s the admin work that kills you.

Since I have the opportunity to quit my full time job and write fiction for a year, one thing that is important to me was transparency. Here is what I did, this is what worked and what didn’t. This is what I’ll do again, and this is where else I’ll go. All the gory, juicy, and miserable stuff that no one wants to talk about. And to make sure it is without bullshit. Because I swear to all the gods in the sky, if I stumble across one more author’s site hawking their classes and wares with borderline exploitative pricing, I am going to scream.

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

It’s been nearly a year, to the day, that I wrote this and in light of what I wrote yesterday, it seemed apropos to post. And it’s a swift kick in the pants to keep my word on the transparency of the projects.

xoxo,
Lisa

This week in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2003, 2000

in which we have reading and writing adventures

Barker at the grounds at the Vermont state fair, Rutland (LOC)
Barker at the grounds at the Vermont state fair, circa 1941. Courtesy of The Commons, Flickr.

Dear Internet,

It’s a long, lovely holiday weekend and I’m digging into my stack of books, aided by hot tea, for entertainment. Since my own book has stalled, I thought it would be a good time to take notes on the books I’m reading to see what worked and what didn’t and apply it to, hopefully, jump start my own writing as well to see what makes me happy reading. (AKA, these notes are mainly more for me than you, but hey, if you get something out of it; Awesome!)

The number one rule you’ll see anywhere on writing is, “read more,” but is that all? Yes and no. Below are some of my notes from chewing through a few books this weekend.

If influenced by a particular era, do the research. In reading a book set during the Belle Époque (France’s version of the Edwardian era / American Gilded age), the book should have a feel for that period. This one did not and it felt what details were made available were slapped on from Wikipedia. Just no.
Alternating POV should move the story along, not show the same scene from different prescriptive.  Thus far, I’ve finished three books this weekend, of which two used alternating POV as a story device. One used it well to advance the story, spending less time on recreating the setting, while the other not so much. In the second, I felt as if the author was slapping my hand for not getting something right so they had to tell me again.
Chapters are not always necessary. Yes, they break up the scenes and action, but if done stealthy, the shift between could remain seamless without the use of chapters. Chapters may be like periods, pauses to break up the scenes, but are not necessary. Terry Pratchett was the king of lack of chapters. In one of the books I read this weekend, the switching happened with the alternating points of view and was so seamless, it took me half the book to realise there were no chapters.
The length of a book, by page number, does not necessitate how good it is. The ones on the longer side are more than likely just like to hear themselves read. Get it? (They all can’t be winners.) One book I’ve read recently, and was quite good, was a slim 150 pages. Another book that was pure dreck clocked in at 400. Length does not mean everything, as much as we like to believe.
Give the book an old college try and read the first 50 pages. I’ll go out on a limb and say this applies to writing as well; if you can’t make the story palatable within the first 50 pages, neither will your readers. And readers? There are too many good books for you to read terrible ones.
If heavily using phrases of a language that isn’t your primary language or the colloquialisms of a particular thing, include an appendix of sorts. It’s presumptuous to think your readers are going to have the same breadth of knowledge on the same topic you’re writing about. An aforementioned book set in the Belle Époque period heavily used ballet terms and dropped French like it was ice cream sprinkles. This makes sense because this was the subject matter, BUT if you aren’t familiar with ballet or spoke even rudimentary French, a lot of what was happening with the characters would be lost on you. Yes, I get it, we learn by reading outside our comfort zone but there is a difference between needing to look up “demagogue” and wondering what in the hell is “battement développé” and having translate.google.com by your side.

There were a few more main things I forgot to write down, but this is the gist of it. So it is true, the more you read, the more you learn. Hrm.

x0x0,
Lisa

P.S. Last winter I decided to put together a newsletter for those who read my stuff but can’t be arsed to check it out daily (no worries, I get it, I do!) so this is a monthly round up. I’ve decided to resurrect it again! Called Skaldic Press Presents, you can check out the archive here (http://tinyletter.com/amostunreliablenarrator/archive) and subscribe here (https://tinyletter.com/amostunreliablenarrator).
P.P.S. There are GIFs involved!

This day in Lisa-Universe: 2014, 2014, 2000, 1999