Chapter 10, Again

Is it possible to be both productive, and counter productive? Because if so, I walk that fine line well. My vacation is over. In fact, I need to leave for work in 15 minutes, so I better make this quick. I am behind in my running, currently at 13 miles total for the month. Running in Florida was a struggle for me, bless you who do. It was hot hot hot. My Husband and I leave Saturday for a concert, so I am not sure where the other 17 will fit in. Nevertheless, I will try.

I finished Bloody Rose, and am now onto The Obelisk Gate. It is good so far, but a little confusing. I might have waited to long between it and the first book. But speaking of books, I cam home to this– My pre-order gift for V. E. Schwab’s Vengeful. It cDnKrR4WUYAEslSAomes out in October and I am excited to read it. Also pictured, vicious Titan who decided to wake me up three times this morning. Yay for first day back to work in a week. And boy it will be a busy one. Dinner tonight, a class tomorrow, a hair appointment Wednesday (thinking of chopping it all off, not that I will go through with that). The list goes on.

As for writing. Aye. That is all I can say. I sat in bed Thursday night, unable to sleep. This turned into a double epiphany. The first one was with a part of my current novel I have written a few times (looking at you chapter 10). World building has been a struggle, but I think I am finally get close to where the story needs to be. Of course that means I now have to rewrite a bunch of things I had already worked on this past week. Oh well. Part of the process right? The next idea I had was for a whole separate story. It just came to me, all neatly packaged, characters, setting, plot and all. Tempting. I know the package is a lie, but still I wrote some of it down just to get it out of my head. And so I could go to sleep.

Well back to the grind. Hope everyone has a nice work week. I will update after the concert 🙂

Dancing in September

Or rather, wake me up when September ends. A little of both. This is going to be a rough, but fun month. Despite whatever is going on in the background, I have goals. Lofty ones might I add.

30 miles for 30 years. Yep, that’s right, turning the big three-oh! So in celebration (or masochistic intent, you choose) I will be running 30 miles this month. This is not too much of a reach for me, I already run. But with an upcoming vacation to Florida and plans every weekend, it wont be the easiest. I say I will run while in the sunshine state, but my melting point is low 80s so there’s that.

Finish 3 books. Right now I am working my way through Bloody Rose by Nicholas Eames, which I am absolutely enjoying. I love protagonists who are not ‘kick-ass’ in the traditional sense. As someone who jumps when the toast pops (yes, every time) I find it hard to relate to sexy sword-bearing females.  The other two I have planned are the remainder of the Broken Earth Trilogy, or one of those and 1000 Years of Solitude that I have yet to really get into. Those could change though. I might go on vacation and decide I need a sappy YA contemporary. Which sounds pretty amazing right now.

Lastly, have a full first draft. A ‘finished’ story. I keep going over my strongest sections, and I need to write past that. I changed a few things, which has been mentally frustrating, because it makes me feel like I will never get to the end. Just the other night I diverged from the story-line to write a kissing scene, and as I debated where it fit in, I had a whole new idea on how that part of the book should go. Aye. I hope that is all part of the process, and I hope that I will just keep getting better at it.

It is going to be a busy month. Birthdays galore. A vacation. A concert. Fixing some things. Changing others. Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. Save Ferris.

Words, dreams, and one beer– I swear.

I feel like I am supposed to hate the slang smol. But. Honestly love it. As far as slang goes, I feel like it represents its meaning well. Some terms are irrelevant, like cray cray vs. crazy. To me they mean the same thing. According to Urban Dictionary (a dangerous place), smol means not only small, but cute. It just looks like that meaning. If you catch my drift. Does that make sense? Probably not the most eloquent with words tonight. I have partaken in some libations, specifically this beer called Lux by Bissell Brothers in Maine. Normally I prefer an amber/red ale. If that makes it sound like I know what I am talking about when it comes to beer, I don’t.  I had to phone a friend to ask if I should pour said beer in a glass (yes) and she could tell OVER THE PHONE, that I was doing it wrong. Which of course made me laugh and it just all went downhill from there.

Downhill, aka two Boston creme muffins later. Also dangerous. I digress.

Started a Neil Gaiman book I have not read yet, Anansi Boys, while I wait for a couple new releases later this month. It’s pretty good so far. I love Gaiman, but he is a little dark for me sometimes. This has nothing to do with the word smol. Can I call it a word? Are slang words, still words? Is slang word redundant, like PIN number? These are the types of questions that will keep me up at night. Previous examples, do people who are blind, or have become blind, dream? (Short answer, yes. Long answer, look it up it is pretty fascinating.) And another one related to dreaming, is it in fact possible to have a dream within a dream? (Research shows probably not, more like realizing you are in a dream, ‘waking up’ and continuing to dream, ‘lucid dreaming’.)

Going to stop there. I could keep going with this pure nonsense, but I will save the few people who do read this from that. Maybe next post will actually be about writing. Constant vigilance.

 

 

 

 

Girl with the Green Glasses

I think I have been watching too much Sherlock. According to am email I received from the NY public library, Virgo’s (that’s me!) should like books based off of, and including, the original Sherlock Holmes. Here is the link if you want to see your literary horoscope. Haven’t been in much of a reading mood lately, so I decided to watch the first two seasons of the BBC version. Gotta say, I like it a lot. It is surprising that I’m not more of a fan of mystery stories. I grew up in a house where Nancy Drew was read to me as a child, and Murder She Wrote and Columbo were constantly on the television. But at the same time so was Star Trek, and Quantum Leap, and Dr. Who. Clearly one had a bit more influence.

My point, though, if there even is one– is my green glasses. I wear translucent mint green frames (courtesy of Warby Parker) on the daily, and because of this people are starting to recognize me. Mainly from my job, as I work where I live/grocery shop/work out, but they don’t remember my name, they remember the glasses. I even had a dream about it, where I signed some sort of note — The Girl with the Green Glasses. Not going to lie, I kind of like it. An alter ego of sorts. My mind is FULL of possibilities. I love alter ego’s and alias’s. Sometimes we never grow up from playing pretend.

Back on the whole mystery novel thing. I think I just like a good twist. No rhyme or reason. No specific genre. You know what book I really liked that had a twist? The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin. I read it as a kid. In fact, I think my Mom bought it in attempt to get me read something mystery-esque. Also The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin. I have yet to read the next two books in the trilogy as it is a pretty intense series, but damn, that first book really got me.  I really look up to her as an aspiring writer and hope some day my work can be as talented as hers. Other than the major twist in the book, I do remember reading a particularly blush-inducing scene out loud to my husband once, and he now forever quotes it when I say I am reading something. I am hoping to read the second book, The Obelisk Gate, on my next plane flight this September. Sometimes I need that forced boredom to get into heavy books. Of course, there are like 7 or 8 unfinished books on my Kindle, so who knows which one I will go with.

Stories

Ahhh. I am finally using this blog for what I set out to do; procrastinate my writing.  Last Sunday I was amazingly productive, so I figured I would try this Sunday as well. I have my laptop set up in the office, my water, my tissues (screw you sinus infection), and an eclectic collection of writing music. So far, I have eaten second breakfast, and browsed Twitter. Off to a great start.

On the subject of writing, I think about the own stories we create in our lives. Sometimes we have to take a step back from what we are doing and live a little. My case in point– this past Thursday. Often I will avoid making plans during the week. I have a lot of goals this summer. Have a completed draft by September. Be more fit. A sewing project or two to finish. But my coworker wanted to visit our work gym for the first time and was hesitant to go alone. Figuring I can always use a workout, I offered to go with her.

What started as a simple workout, ended in a night of hilarity and pizza. We have to remember to live a little. Between work and hobbies, and ever important sleep, there must be time for us to create our own stories. Not even 11am and I am getting super philosophical here. This calls for a second coffee. Time to get some work done.

Wait. I also wanted to share this article by David Barnett (courtesy of my Twitter browsing): The one piece of advice every aspiring author needs to know

Or, how not to obsess over writing advice. Which I personally have a tendency to do, and then get scolded for. Anyway, I found the article helpful. Maybe you will too.

Measurements

It is funny how we measure things. Most of my day was spent working. Which, was not horrible, but, also not notably wonderful. Happiness stacks just like sadness, though I feel we notice the latter more. That is why there is the saying ‘when it rains it pours’, and not one ‘when the sun shines it…’ well I don’t really know what it would do after that. Explode in a fiery mass, dooming mankind? That took a turn.

Last night, my Father helped me figure out the science I was struggling with in my story. And while I was researching something he had asked me to find, I got the epiphany my characters were going to have. Eureka. I have been struggling with that for weeks, and it finally feels like it is coming together. Tonight, I had the best workout I have had in years. Kicked my but, and I loved it. Now, my cat is curled up in my lap, and I am reading a book after almost two months of barely anything. Not the best of books, but it was part of a series that I wanted to finish,  and really it’s not that bad. Just falls into a lot of cliches. I knew that going in though, maybe that makes a difference. And maybe I kind of like it.

Sometimes I measure my days by the time I spend at work. That is fine and all, work plays a very important part in our lives. This week so far (it is early I know), I am measuring it by my evenings. We are not expected to be happy all the time, but right now I am pretty darn peachy. WHICH, for those of you who likes peaches, apparently they are supposed to be really good this year. I tested this theory myself by buying four, and proceeding to eat three in one night. Anyway, happiness. Right. Peaches. Happiness = peaches. Also I have been trying to wake up extra early now, to get things done in the morning. So far successful. But I am le tired. 10 points to anyone who knows what that is from.

 

Out of Office

You know you are a skilled procrastinator when you procrastinate your procrastination blog… procastception. I have always been that way, even as a wee lad, doing my homework on the bus to school, or even sometimes the period before. I am the queen of unfinished projects, handed down to me from my Mother. (Sorry Mom! You know it is true though :D) One of the only things I ever kept up with was training for a half marathon, and that was because I signed up for it before I had even completed a 5k. It was either keep training, or eat that $85. That is was I need. The subtle threat of a deadline. Or maybe less subtle.

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My office today. Yes, I did put my fancy new Starbucks cup on top of my laptop so I could get it in the picture. It has a bunny! And don’t worry. There was SPF 80 on those pale legs of mine. That is also not my pool– though it was home to a porcupine briefly the other night. The real question, did I get any work done? Ha. Kind of. Right now I am working through my second draft, and we use that term loosely. Second draft of my unfinished first draft which is really just a rewrite. Hey whatever help me sleep at night, right? So I did do a little writing, and then came across a section that could be copied and pasted since it still worked well. Bam. A few hundred words down. All work and no play this girl is.

Overall I was quite productive. The perks of dog/house sitting other than doggies and a pool? Access to a washer and dryer.  My husband has more clothes than Carrie Bradshaw. Yeesh. I should know, I steal them all the time. If I could live in joggers and t-shirts, I would. Then I cleaned out a significant portion of our spare room, aka the storage unit, aka my office. A room where dirty socks and magic cards go to die. I really wanted it cleaned so I would have room to start my sewing project. What is that saying? Creativity breeds creativity. What it really means is procrastinate your current creative project with a new one.

Speaking of subtlety (something I do not posses), I started reading The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck by  Mark Manson. Does anyone else pronounce it sub-tle when reading it? Like archive. I totally still say ar-chive in my head. Anyway, so far the book exceeds my expectations. Hoping to finish it this week. And, I finally saw Ready Player One. I must have missed the memo because I kept saying, ‘this was not how it happened in the book…’, which was fine by me, I am hardly any kind of book purist. It just took me pleasantly by surprise. Though I did read the book over a year ago so I could have forgotten a bunch of stuff too. A blissfully short memory. Both a blessing and a curse.

 

NYC Pt. 2

Part two as in, a second trip to the big city within a week. This time to see the play, Boys in the Band. It has been a long time since I have seen a play. My sister, who is in high school, says they don’t do them anymore. What? Back in my day (I get to say this because I am double her age), we did two plays AND a musical in one school year. Consequently, that was probably the last time I had seen a play.

I was really excited to see this show because 1. I am a huge Zachary Quinto fangirl and 2. It is high time LGBTQ+ stories were in the mainstream.  The play itself was excellent. I haven’t laughed that much in a while. It was a small slice of life, that talked about big issues. Especially for that time. Everyone was perfect in their characters, and I especially enjoyed the stage setup. I love how something so simple as just an apartment (a super cool apartment), can work so well for the story.

That was my last show planned for the year, unless you count school ones of course :). I might make one more trip to the city this summer, because I am in need of a delicious food tour. Very limited options where we live right now, but that is the price one pays for solitude.

I am in a reading rut right now. Or maybe I am not a summer reader. Just nothing is really sparking my interest right now, other than every review written on an espresso maker ever. To which I still have yet to settle on one. Writing is, meh. About 25k into the rewrite. It is going, albeit slowly. Summer just makes me want to daydream. Okay. Nap. Summer just makes me want to nap.

When Dads Cry

So this past Sunday, Father’s Day, my family and I traveled to NYC to watch the musical Dear Evan Hansen on Broadway. Now I wont say too much, nor give a synopsis (because I suck at those), but I will say it was awesome. If you ever have an opportunity to see a Broadway show, Dear Evan Hansen is now the top of my list of Favorites. So speaking of Fathers, my own Dad was with me for this show. I was told beforehand that I should expect to shed a few tears, and boy were they not kidding.

Now there is a scene in the show where a Dad, toward the end of act one, finally breaks down and cries about the situation at hand. It isn’t highlighted or anything– kind of off to the side during a large number where other things are going on. But boy did that hit me in the heart. I don’t know about anyone else, but when I see my own Dad cry (which is twice in my lifetime), I cry. I guess that translates to fictional dads as well. I did see my own blink a little rapidly at the scene… but no actual tears.

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The whole story was an emotional roller coaster. I laughed and cried. The show talks about some serious issues regarding metal health, suicide, and the viral web. Really one of the most modern and thought provoking musicals I have seen this far. Well, definitely the most modern. I don’t think I have seen anything that has taken place after the 80’s or wasn’t a fantasy world.

Also, my sister has introduced me to this whole ‘stage door’ thing. What fun. I think it is great that these actors and actresses take time to come great their fans! The most famous people I have ever met, that is for sure. And I am okay with that.

No reading this week 😦 but some writing did get done. Which is what I am supposed to be doing right now. A blog post counts, right?

The Importance of Idols

Let me start off by saying, as far as Idols go, my Mom and Dad are #1. I am thankful that they are so supportive in my life, and I am constantly inspired by both of them. When I was child I didn’t really care about anyone famous. To me they were unrealistic and unobtainable concepts of people. Fictional characters were another story. I know, so much more realistic. Namely, Indiana Jones and Lara Croft.

Okay, yes, I still obsess over them. No, my husband will not let me name our first born son Indiana.

Anthony Bourdain was probably the first ‘famous’ person who inspired me. I was in love with his show, No Reservations, and made my Mom buy all his books for me so I could read them. Thanks Mom! This was at a time where I read nothing other than YA Fantasy, so his writing opened up a whole new genre for me.

A little back story on me as a teenager. Specifically my eating habits. I was such a picky eater that we had a list on our fridge of food I would eat. I am not sure how many meals were listed on there, but if you ask my Stepfather he would probably say no more than ten. Now at this point I already had been bitten by the travel bug. It was like something clicked when I saw my first episode. It was the one where he went to Cambodia.  I think my Mom saved it because she knew I was obsessed with going to Cambodia (I still am, and will one day go).

Food and travel. What a wondrous mixture. I binge-watched as many seasons as possible. I read both Kitchen Confidential and a Cook’s Tour. Bourdain taught me how important food was to a culture. That it was more than just food, but a way of life, a history. And I wanted to try it all. I probably will never be able to go all the places I want to, but food fills some of that void.

So now I force my husband to eat all my ambitious cooking. Or, when I fail spectacularly, make him go out to eat at a new place. And dragging him to other countries when we can. Bless his homebody soul for putting up with my wanderlust. Also for making sure I don’t get hit by bicycles. I am a magnet to their two-wheeled power.

It is sad that we have lost Bourdain, but in the wake of his death it made me realize how important Idols are. I can’t say that everyone famous (or not famous) is worth your time, but I think it is inspiring to look up to people who are hard-working individuals. People who try to open our eyes, who try to make a difference in the world. Whether it be with writing, or music, or just being a decent human being. I like to follow people who motive me to be better, to work harder. Because when you see these people giving their all, it motivates you to as well.