Tuesday, August 29, 2006
And I am having a jolly old time. I'm writing. I guess you could say I am sampling the writer's lifestyle. I am setting my own clock. I got up a hour early today, and I can stay up as long the drive to create makes me. I don't have to tuck it in bed so that I'm not a zombie tomorrow. I am mailing off submissions, squeezing my own juice (I mean this literally), drinking too much coffee and following my instincts. There are moments of panic and anxiety, but they pass. It really helps that I am not financially dependant on my output just now. Hopefully this vacation will help me form some good writing habits and get a jump on my writing so that I'll have a rough draft this time next year.
A rough draft of what? you ask. Why, of the knitting story, of course. Did you think I totally dropped that?
Sunday, August 27, 2006
Not that this is a lousy weekend, per se. This has been a most righteous weekend, as a matter of fact. But for writing, lousy.
A Moment for Self Pity and Panic
Oh Gawd I will never get anywhere with the writing thing, it is so good I have a day job, because if I can't even sit down at the computer and write anything, I can't submit anything, and if I don't submit anything, I can't make money off of it and eventually quit my lousy job. I suck. What the hell am I thinking, trying to write?!?
How This Weekend Isn't Lousy
Saturday was one of the best days I've had in while. I think I blew something like $200, but it sure as hell felt good. At one point I ended up downtown at the Brattle Bookstore. If you've never been to Boston, or downtown Boston (specifically, the shopping area around the Park Street T) or to the Brattle Bookstore, well, maybe I can give you an idea of it. Picture an outdoor mall, with wide sidewalks and the occasional brick paved road that is often too cluttered with pedestrians for car traffic. And don't think of a suburban mall. The buildings are old, a bit smog-smeared and dirty without being sordid. They are just used. Really used. And if you look up, you'll notice that above the corporate chain facade the building is actually a Beaux Artes, with a delicate, weathered white marble facade with elegantly arched windows overlooking the shoppers below, or a gray stoned Neo-Gothic with crumbling plaster details.
The Brattle Bookstore is on a narrow side street, the kind that is almost always in shadow. There is a small paved area next to the little, two-story bookstore which was probably once a parking lot but which is now filled during business hours by rolling metal shelves piled with bargain books. Shelves are built on the sides of the buildings that can be locked up at night like cupboards.
So picture me there. Petite woman with disorderly hair, wearing gray cat's eye glasses and the kind of casual clothing that I really should know better than to wear outside of the apartment for anything more than running across the street for toilet paper. The asphalt is still damp from the night's rain and Elvis is in the air. Really. There's a man hanging two stories above the street on a large platform across the street blasting a really good Oldies radio station. And I am finding books, and books. For cheap. It was surreal. But that was only about $15 of my weekend.
I went for sushi, bought swap items, scored a black beaded antique purse that would be perfect for holding socks-in-progress. I bought The Best of Roxy Music and Carly Simon at a painfully trendy and hip record store, proving once again to the employees there that I am hopelessly square and always have been. (This is the same place I bought a Psychedelic Furs CD.)
And yes, when I went sushi I was still dressed abominably. We always are when we go for sushi. But we tip well.
Friday, August 25, 2006
Thursday, August 24, 2006
- am reminded that some men are misogynistic, even if they don't call it that;
- am reminded by that that I do most of the housework at home, even though I support us both, which annoys me to no end because the boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot says he doesn't want me to do all the cleaning, therefore I should just stop cleaning and we'll be equal in squalor together (This is so not happening. And it's not like I'm a neat freak. I'm a slob. So that gives you some idea of what his standards are.);
- encountered a book someone is writing that villainizes my philosophical system (People disagreeing with, and having viewpoints completely opposite of mine, I am used to. Direct attacks, however, by people who more than likely have no idea what they're talking about aggravates the hell out of me. And no, I'm not a Scientologist.);
All of which not only makes me angry at men, generally and specifically, but it also makes me feel at odds with the world. Which just aggravates me more, because it's not how I want to feel. And it's not really true. For the most part I am aligned with the world. I eat, I sleep, I want to be happy, I cry at sad endings, I want to feel useful. Other human beings and I have a lot in common. I despise feeling like I am some kind of social pariah, esp. since not only am I right (hehe), I am also minding my own damn business.
As for the misandry, if he rememebered to make the bed before going to school so that the inspectiors don't know the color and state of our sheets, I'll get over it.
Now back to my trecherous tea-sipping and blueprint correcting.
Wednesday, August 23, 2006
I am still here, albeit halfheartedly.
All I can think about lately is writing. I am barely knitting at all. Writing, plotting, scheming... That's me. Maybe it will actually go somewhere.
I still need that vacation. The one I am not currently taking, and may not have a chance to take. When it comes to anything outside of the bare essentials (reading voraciously, updating my Netflix queue, taking notes on plot ideas and even occasionally writing some) I have no energy at all. Really. You should see my apartment.
Which reminds me: my building being inspected tomorrow, so I have to spend tonight cleaning.
Friday, August 18, 2006
I like a nice plot. Or at least a funny one. So I had to think of one, and I did. Then I started to write. Things were going well: I had the scene, I had the characters, I had the conflict and the resolution and the reason for it all. I was happily typing away, only pausing every now and then to knit (I knit while I write. Don't you?) while I considered the exact phrasing or expression that would fit.
Just about the time my boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot came home I realized I had a serious problem. Things had gotten out of control. I'm not talking whips and chains and dwarves, or anything like that. I mean I was about 300 words in and I still hadn't gotten anywhere near the sex.
Yes. That's right. Despite my best intentions, I was writing a romance novel.
Wednesday, August 16, 2006
I've been making an effort to simplify my life, to purge unneeded or unwanted things. This involves considering what I do with my time and what I'd rather be doing with it. I'm not so badly off in this department: I get my way in a lot of things. I don't have a mortgage to pay, kids to take to soccer practice, strange obligations that consume most of my time. What I do have is a job I don't like and many distractions that deplete my energy.
I am usually too tired when I get home to write, or even think about it. Yet I want to be a writer. It's a a vicious cycle that has to end or I won't get anywhere. I have tons of free or stolen time at work when I could be writing, but instead I am blogging or reading blogs. My energy should be focused on things that I not only enjoy but get me somewhere, not things that give me ideas for more distractions from what I should be doing with my life.
Does this make any sense?
So, consider yourself on notice. I need to keep the blog around long enough to take care of a couple obligations, but after that, it's history. No more blog. It will go up in virtual smoke. When will this happen? Well, I like a nice, tidy date: 10-01-06
Edit: If you'd like to stay updated on my fiction writing, email me.
Sookie Stackhouse, a telepathic barmaid in Northern Louisiana, meets the man of her dreams: Bill, a Civil War survivor and the hottest dead man she's ever seen. Too bad about that little vampire thing. A-
This is the book that kicks off the Southern Vampire series. I've read Club Dead, Dead to the World, Dead as a Doornail, and Living Dead in Dallas - all of the series currently in paperback - so I guess I'm a fan.
I'm a bit overwhelmed right now by Sookie's romantic options. There are a couple constant interests, which she takes more or less seriously and that appear more or less in every book: Eric, the head honcho vampire of the area, and former Viking; Bill, the first vampire she meets, mentioned above; and Sam, her boss. (I won't tell you what's unusual about him - go read the book!) Potential love interests introduced as the series goes on are Alcide, a werewolf; the head of a clan of werepanthers (whose name escapes me at the moment); and a weretiger.
So many options, all with their good and bad points. Let's break it down, because that's the kind of mood I'm in. (Spoilers in this break-down. You are forewarned.)
Bill. Bill is in love with Sookie, and he tries to protect her, (good points) but he's very much a vampire and as such has limited self control in certain situations (feeding frenzy, anyone?) , and tends to be secretive and a bit patronizing. He also is so reserved he's kind of a cold fish, in my opinion. Maybe this is supposed to be a kind of Mr. Darcy thing going on, but I'm not really feeling it. (Bad points)
Eric. Eric is a bit obsessed with Sookie, but he has no scruples whatsoever. A brief bought of amnesia turns him into what he probably was before he became a vampire - years and years and years ago - a nice guy - and he and Sookie have a fling during this period. Eric in this state is the perfect vampire for Sookie, since he is more warm and cuddly and vulnerable than Bill, and also declares his *cough* undying *cough* love. However, his memory is returned, wiping out his memories of their relationship, and he reverts to his usual ways. That is, being evil and dangerous (bad points) and on her side (good points) because he has a thing for her, even though he would probably rather be staked than admit to that kind of weakness.
Sam. (Spoilers here, too) Sam is not a vampire, but a shapeshifter who usually shows up as a dog. A dog is quite apropos for Sam because he is loyal, sensitive, and affectionate. Sounds boring next to vampires, eh? Well, not really. He can be any animal he wants, is good in a pinch, and probably understands Sookie more than the other dudes. (Good points, obviously.) His flaws? Other than that he knew Sookie for years but didn't realize he wanted her until all these other guys showed up? Maybe he's not as good of a protector as the vampires or some of the bigger shifters (Sam's not a big, hulking guy) - I always feel a little more afraid when it's him defending her because he seems so vulnerable himself - but other than that, it's just his lack of Go Get Her. Sam is getting to be Sookie's #1 loyal sidekick while she dates all these other guys, the poor bastard. He tries to make a move every now and then, but he always overshadowed by some gorgeous hunk who can turn into a tiger, or a vampire with hundreds of years of sexual experience to build upon. And it's not like he's unattractive. Did I say poor bastard already? Poor bastard. After six books, I'm gunning for him to be Mr. Right because he's the one I'd want to wake up with. (And then maybe take to the park for a game of fetch.) But I don't have high hopes: Sookie resists even thinking about him that way because he's her boss, and this series is really about her and vampires.
Alcide. The big werewolf guy. At first I liked him. He's good looking, and he's not evil. (Good points) But he lacks character. I don't mean he's not defined for the reader - he is. He's just too cloudy on the difference between right and wrong, even by his own definition, and he's caught up in the werewolf culture. I wouldn't count on him to guard my back. Not a poor bastard: just a bastard. He needs to get his priorities and loyalties sorted out.
The Werepanther. He likes Sookie, but in a kind of "She looks like a good breeder" kind of way. He'd guard her back, but he'd probably expect something in return for it that she wouldn't be comfortable in giving. There's too much keeping score with him about who owes whom even on little things.
The Weretiger. I hardly know this guy, but he seems fair-minded and honest. He is also an incredible physical specimen. (He reminds me of Arnold Vosloo, or maybe Billy Zane.) Poor Sam.
Tuesday, August 15, 2006
It's not very likely I'll reach this goal. (I should have chosen something about toilets.)
I almost thought I wouldn't make it to twelve, what with how wasting all that time on Collapse* set me back.
(SRP12) Faking It by Jennifer Crusie 412 pgs.
This book was delightful. A con man trying to go straight falls in with a quirky family that has a tradition of forging paintings. Made me want to paint! A
*I am deeply disappointed by Jared Diamond.
Monday, August 14, 2006
After twenty years, best friends Nick and Quinn realize they've always had the hots for each other, but have been using involvement with other people and the fact that Nick was married to Quinn's sister right after high school as means to deny it. You can well imagine that after twenty years, that gets old, as does everything else. Quinn decides to make a major change. Havoc ensues as everyone is routed out of their usual routines. Satisfying read. A-
Friday, August 11, 2006
This is my favorite speculative fiction series outside of Discworld. (To give you an idea of it, I was up until 2 am last night reading it in the bathroom so as not to disturb my boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot, then read it while walking to work and finished it at lunch.) Harris provides a fun read with some very attractive, dangerously supernatural characters. The main character is a telepathic Southern barmaid named Sookie Stackhouse who gets into all kinds of scrapes and seems to be courted by every vampire, shape shifter and werewolf worth a second look. In this one, someone is targeting shape shifters, and possibly Sookie. A- (no sex this time!)
Thursday, August 10, 2006
When I was in high school I read Mary Gentle's Ancient Light and it blew my mind. Mary Gentle had managed to create an alien world I could hear, smell, taste, and feel. I went on to read Rats and Gargoyles and The Architecture of Desire. I was not disappointed.
Grunts! is the first book of hers that I've read in a long time, mainly because mainstream bookstores tend not to stock her books very often. It's also the first parody. I wasn't quite certain what to expect, esp. since it allegedly turns the underdog villains into the heroes of the story. She does succeed in doing this. The book is clever and somehow kept me reading despite the gore. I found myself rooting for obviously evil characters (they're not just misunderstood.)
However, Grunts! wasn't so clever that I was smirking to myself or laughing out loud as I do with some authors. It also suffered from something which in hindsight was also present in the other books I read - that is, the plot was not always obvious, leaving the reader to wander a about helplessly for a bit like someone lost in the woods. Nevertheless, I did manage to find my way out. B+
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Which makes me Ebenezer Scrooge. But I don't care. More yarn for me! (Esp. when you consider I have nine siblings (eight living) I am no longer knitting for.)
I can feel the weight lifting already.
How are you?
Tuesday, August 08, 2006
Monday, August 07, 2006
What will I do with my lunch hour if I'm not blogging? you may wonder.
Well, I'll be reading everybody else's blogs, of course.
Friday, August 04, 2006
- had an onion bagel with salmon cream cheese for breakfast
- have had three cups of tea
- am eating a burrito
- got a raise?
So, the new Vogue Knitting is out and I got a copy last night. It wasn't a waste of money, esp. since I knit socks. I considered taking photos before leaving the Cave this morning so that I could post them, but then my laziness got he better of me. No photos for you.
The preview for Rowan #40 is up. I haven't really taken a look at it yet.
I'm feeling very austere on the knitting front lately. That is, I've declared a moratorium on buying yarn for projects that don't already exist on the needles. This has far reaching implications for my budget, and for how often you will hear of me desperately searching through thrift stores for a sweater to frog.
Last night, I:
- had a bag of chips and a decaf soy latte at the coffeehouse
- drank the last of the wine (1/4 glass!)
- watched Brazil
- experienced astoundingly temperate weather
Thursday, August 03, 2006
- had two pieces of toast with margarine with jasmine green tea for breakfast
- am having a salad for lunch
In the course of my websurfing today I came across a site on eating wild plants.
Although the plants were Canadian it was an idea that really resonated with me. When I was still living in rural California I was exploring the edibility of native vegetation. My family had been in the area for over four generations, so such notions were not only considered pretty normal, but old-fashioned. (There are people in my family who have even seen water being divined.) Most of my family that still lives in the area have a vegetable garden in their back yard as a matter of course, and will eat wild plants without a second's thought. (Okay, maybe there will be second's thought, some thing like, "Did a dog piss on this?") Before I moved away I was drying spearmint on clotheslines in my room and contemplating just how much dandelion I would need for wine. And, how does one make wine?
I did a search through the internet and my memory, coming up with some interesting stuff.
I have eaten A LOT of berries. I could put bears to shame. Loganberries, blackberries - I learned the hard way that you need to wear jeans and a long sleeved shirt when you crawl into a briar. (Gloves wouldn't hurt, either.) I've denuded many a huckleberry and red huckleberry bush. (I was told not to eat the red huckleberries with black spots, but I have no idea why.) Pretty tame berries, right? Well, that wasn't where it ended. I also ate thimbleberries, the peach-fuzz leaves of which are nature's toilet paper. (Stinging nettle sometimes get confused with this plant, resulting in disasterous camping trips.) In my own back yard I ate the fruit of strawberry trees and fuschias.
Berries weren't the end of it. I remember being in high school reading something about some outback people eating sorrel salads and thinking, "What the hell?" and then, "I wonder if I can find any of that?" I was going to look it up. Ironic, really, since I now know that I had a thing for sorrel, and still do - I just called it sourgrass. Believe me, no other sorrel will do. But the sour part is not joke - after about a couple cups of sourgrass you're stomach will be upset. Trust me, I know.
I loved to go to the beach so that I could eat indian lettuce; screw the view. I also ate the seeds of something I can't find on the internet, some tall plant. Yeah. Hmm.
And I ate a lot of grass, mostly of the wild rye variety it seems.
Yep, my parents didn't have much trouble making me eat my fruit and vegetables.
- had a bowl of cereal with tea for breakfast
- hada banana and home made burritos with carrots for lunch
- drank a lot of tea
- scored some boxes from my savior, Lissy
- went to S'nB
- had a decaf soy latte and a bag of chips there
- drank a bottle of water (Did I mention it's hot?)
- made another burrito for dinner
- watched most of Time Bandits
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
- I am soooo broke; I have to pay a hospital bill, a student loan, tuition, and rent this week. I even borrowed money from my boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot... You know, that guy I allegedly financially support? This leaves me too preoccupied to post.
- I am overwhelmed by work. So much so that I only have couple hours a day to read knitblogs. How can I fit posting into that schedule?
- The cat is making me crazy, so until he calms down enough for my posts to be remotely happy, I can't post.
- Blogger has ben uncooperative, causing me to lose all desire to post, even when Blogger does work.
- I am experiencing pre-PMS.
- Everyone is so much more wittier and creative than me, and take such lovely photos, that I don't know why I bother.
- Aliens captured me over the weekend, replacing me with a moving simulacrum. I will not be released until I teach them the Magic Loop technique. (Since I can't effectively use circular needles, this excuse could last a couple weeks, if not a month.)
- I am writing the knitting story.
- My computer isn't working.
- It is too darned hot out.
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
I'm thinking and reading and writing, but not writing blog entries. I think this is partly due to my lack of knitting progress lately. I am really swamped.
I am swamped in more than knitting, actually. I can't seem to buy a box to mail swaps in, for one thing, so the stuff is sitting around, making me feel guilty. It's really very frustrating, because I LIVE ON THE SAME BLOCK AS THE POST OFFICE. Only, it opens at 8 am, and closes at 6 pm. If I am super fast and organized in the morning and there aren't already five people waiting outside the door I can stop in on my way to work without being late. (If you consider my utter lack of organization lately and the population density of my neighborhood you will understand why I still don't have mailing boxes.) If I am super fast and organized in the evening I can get back home by 5:55 pm and maybe stop by then, assuming there isn't a ginormous line.
It's a seemingly endless cycle. I may have to take a day off or something just to do this. (What about my boyfriend/ partner/ whatnot? you wonder. Couldn't he run this errand for me? Well, what about him? I asked him to do it two weeks ago since he is within 5 mins walking time from the post office virtually 24/7, and look where it's gotten me.)
I don't suppose you have any boxes, do you? And maybe a barrel of monkeys who knit?