Back in the Saddle Again

I basically took off the month when it comes to this site and all creative things associated with it. I was still writing every couple of days through April, but just bits and pieces here and there. With Call Day over and the smell of summer in the breeze off my back porch, time to tighten the cinch.

That said, I won’t be focusing on the long writing just yet. May is going to be a month for cleaning up this website and working on my picture book projects. I need to shuffle the drawers and reorganize a little — though probably not very noticeably — and get back to work on one of my illustration projects. The plan is to knock a bunch of things off my to-do list, and allow the novels to rise back up to the top in June. We’ll see how that goes.

The Weather Report

It was a balmy 59 degrees in my apartment this morning when I woke up. If the temperature gauge on the wall outside my bathroom and, you know, the cold hadn’t informed me of that fact, having the cat crawl into my lap and curl up like a pill bug would’ve done it. Whenever it gets too cold around her she either disappears into the covers of my bed or — if she’s in the mood to hang out — uses my lap as a personal heater. The colder it is, the tighter she winds up.

As it is, for the life of me I cannot bear to turn the heat on, even with this downturn in the weather. Last week I discovered that my AC is broken again (I came home to a stifling 79 degrees in my apartment–it was definitely in the 80s up in the loftice where the heat rises), and since the warm weather is going to inevitably come back before apartment maintenance does, I can’t stand the thought of letting all that cold go to waste. I will either be relieved by tomorrow’s weather (in the 70s, if the weather forecast is to be believed), or it will kill me now that I’m used to the frigid air in here.

In the meantime, I find this endlessly funny:

Like, way more than I should. But when I discovered that chocolate chip muffins weren’t quite as good as I was anticipating, there was little choice but to eat the tops off of every single one of the remaining ten (I threw one away before I realized seeing them all lined up like this might be hilarious; it took a few days to get there, but I was right). It’s just…you hate good muffin tops to go to waste. Urgh, inadvertent pun, but I can’t back away now: you hate good muffin tops to go to waist. But that’s exactly where they go.

Ow

I have a brutally ruthless headache tonight. I know exactly where it came from too: I played soccer after work and absolutely knew going in that I was going to get one because I hadn’t drunk enough water beforehand. Normally on soccer days I circumvent my camel-like tendencies and drink water throughout the afternoon, but in a series of unfortunate events mostly out of my control, this did not happen. I forgot my water bottle at home, but no big deal; I can drink from the water fountain at work. The water, naturally, is then shut down in my entire office building for the rest of the afternoon while maintenance works on fixing a leak. Then soccer, as it turns out, has been shifted from the gym to the outdoors. The weather really is gorgeous, but we abandon the water fountain inside the gym and I have nothing to drink during breaks.

Looking at this list I could have worked around all of these obstacles–not forgotten the water bottle, gone to a different office building for water, asked to drink from someone else’s water bottle on the field–but headaches are really only brutal when you have them. So it didn’t seem like a big enough deal at the time.

Oh, and I also hopped a fence and tore up my hand in the process, but as I am now rocking an only slightly off-center stigmata on my left hand (in the season of Lent no less): totally worth it.


Final also: sorry for the whining. I almost skipped the post tonight, knowing exactly the caliber of content, but as I skipped every previous night for the past week, here we are. And really, if you’re going to hurt yourself, the main consolation prize is getting to boast about it. So ow.

ANNOUNCEMENT

 

I have slightly more hair than Colin Mochrie here (with apologies for the fact that you can’t really tell because of the awful video quality), but barely any in comparison to my previous flowing locks; there’s 23 inches of my hair neatly folded in a Ziploc bag and sitting on my kitchen table, waiting for me to decide which hair charity I’m mailing it to. Cutting my hair was the reward for writing every day for three months (sans Sundays), and boy did that visit to the hairdresser feel good. I keep dramatically tossing my hair every time I turn my head because it bounces delightfully.

As to practical consequences, I’ll need to update my About Page picture and redistribute it in the necessary places. I meant to do that today but did not, as I was too busy watching movies. You know how it is. Also, I’m not going to give up writing every day now that I’ve established the habit. I will, however, be updating the goal: I’m dropping Fridays and replacing “just write something” each day with “just write one scene.” If that’s too much, I’ll switch it to a word or page count. For all that it was good to write every day no matter how much or how little, I leaned heavy on the side of “little” and don’t have nearly as much to show for it as I was hoping.

Anyways, I’m sure this is all enormously interesting to you. But there you have it anyways. You may now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

An Old Piece While I Work on Some New Pieces

“Time out!”

The gunfire, blazing fast and hard only moments before, actually tapered off. A machine gun in the distance kept firing, but there was an actual three second pause before someone from the Pellosian side of the line shouted, “You’re…what? You can’t do that!”

“Yeah, well, I just did!” Cole shouted back.

“You can’t call ‘Time out!’ in war!”

Cole, barely paying attention as he helped Jessop shift Barnaby onto his back, yelled, “Take it up with the International Counsel of Dibs and No-Take-Backs!”

“Where is all this blood coming from?” Jessop said to no one, looking briefly at the hand he had pulled back from under Barnaby’s shoulder.

“Let the medics figure it out,” Cole told him. He looked up at Hartman. “Those idiots look like they’re about to rush the line?”

“You won’t believe this,” Hartman said, peering over a concrete pylon, “but I think they’re arguing about whether the International Counsel of Dibs is a real thing.”


Writing Report: been focusing on a novel (hooray) over the past couple days. I pulled this partial scene out of my files because I had nothing of particular note to fill a blog post. Except that I tore it up at soccer last night and I’ve been in a good mood since. Still, that’s not particularly amusing, though I did kick a guy on the bottom of his foot, forcing his entire leg up mid-stride and sending him rolling in agony.

(Admittedly, not all that amusing at the time either; I felt awful, as I’d been aiming for the ball at his feet. The fact that I’m a girl almost certainly saved me from a well-deserved verbal rake-down. He was able to laugh about it ten minutes later and ask that I keep the physical abuse to a minimum as he had a day job in construction.)

General Neglect…

…and Major Indifference. They have similar training styles, but the officers tend to butt heads even while they’re agreeing.

In fact I have continued to work on my projects, despite all appearances, and have even managed to refocus back on my novels. The problem at this point is that I need to pick one. I’ve got two fantastic ideas, but arguing about which one is the more solid of the two is a great way to put off actually starting either of them. Have I mentioned that I hate starting projects? I hate starting projects.

In the meantime I’m polishing off another logo job, even though I groan and grumble like the world is doing me some sort of massive disservice every time someone pays me to give art another shot. Just because you can do something doesn’t mean you enjoy doing it. I do, in more promising news, have a poem that’s just waiting to be posted–but I’ll save that for another week. I meant to have it out yesterday, but spent most of the day in a meeting and then on the road, and I’ve just mentally hit that wall.

Also, I finished reading The Lord of the Rings for the (4th?) time, and was delighted to realize that this line in the movie is absolutely faithful to the source material:

(But oh man, old school YouTube. I’m on a kick now. Just be glad I didn’t link to Saruman trololling his way out of Orthanc.)

A Lost Half a Minute of My Life

Two more items of incredible interest today:

  1. I drop-kicked Microsoft Word from my laptop. I was using a copy from my work (with their blessing), but the other day it locked me out of my own documents, claiming that the product was unlicensed. In fact, I suspect that Office365 didn’t like the fact that I hadn’t signed in via the internet for two months, and since I’m on a I-hate-Microsoft-kick and I really can’t stand their new grammar editing suggestions that go along with spellcheck (since when does my word processor think it can think for me? I’m writing dialogue, you piece of crap, of course it’s off grammatically). So I’m trying out WordPad. And yes, I know, still Microsoft–but subscription-free Microsoft. Beggars often try to be choosers despite the helpful idiom, but I’ll do my best to take what I get without complaint anyways.
    1. (You will probably hear me complaining about this later.)
  2. Watched an old lady kick a bunch of ice cubes under a soda fountain the other day. She wasn’t very fast, unfortunately (that’s where I lost that half minute), but I realized as I stood silently out of her peripheral vision, that she had no idea I’d crept up behind her and was waiting for my turn to fill up on pop. There was no way for me to assist without startling her into dropping the entire cup of ice and just compounding the issue.
  3. Oh, but I guess three items: writing report finds half a page added to “The King and the Lionheart” yesterday, and a bunch of little things spread out over three different stories this evening. I need to start focusing.

It Was, Admittedly, Counterproductive

Working on “Alex Byrnes Is a Double-Crossing Weasel” and generally ignoring my blog–and my actual novels. In totally unrelated news, here are two items of interest to no one:

  1. I forgot that St. Patty’s Day was this Sunday, but accidentally (and fortunately) wore my spring-green raincoat because of the weather. Most of the parents in church had some sort of green token on as a shield against their children, and that sparked an old memory: when I was in elementary school, I would wear only a tiny piece of green and make sure it was hidden, hoping beyond hope that I would fool one of my classmates into pinching me for not wearing any green; at which point I would dramatically reveal the spot of color and then get to pinch them back. Yeah, I didn’t really think that one through.
  2. Early Sunday afternoon I made muffins, and by 8 p.m. I had eaten the tops off of a quarter of the pan after realizing, to my sudden, dawning delight, that there was no one to stop me.

My Sister and I Screamed like This Once and Forever Traumatized Our Cat the Day She Brought Home a Gift, Threw It in the Air to Impress Us, and It Squeaked

This will delight me forever.


Writing Report:

“Kuznetsov was a tool.”

“Kuznetsov was a what now?”

Whistler pushed himself out from under the bank of computers. “Tool. Word for ‘enormous douchebag,’ yes?”

Coleman glanced briefly around the room with his eyebrows furrowed, like a guilty party would step forward if he looked severe enough. “Who is teaching you these words?”

Tally coughed and buried himself farther into his work.

I made a PROMISE

I was going to have an actual thing to share tonight (yes, a thing), but I want to try and illustrate the thing at least in a small way, and tonight is too late. I’m tired. I’d say goodness knows why, except daylight savings time started on Sunday and I’m still reeling like I’ve got major jet-lag instead of an hour less sleep in the morning. Still, it is nice to see the sun’s face a little longer in the evenings, so I’ll leave my complaining at that.

In other news, I’m reading The Lord of the Rings before I go to bed each night, and having an enormous amount of fun comparing it with the movies and trying to recall the original way I imagined everything. Regardless, the movies are fantastic adaptations, though I can’t help but shake my head a little over some of my favorite bits that were lost in the making. Biggest complaint: they dumbed down and eviled up my two favorite characters–Pippin and Faramir, respectively. Pippin, for the record, was young and occasionally foolish by reckless choice, but actually quite intelligent; Faramir was the best and noblest of the two brothers without hesitation when he didn’t have a Hollywood writer insisting that Gollum needed a reason to go bad after a brief respite of okay behavior, as though the evil in the heart of man needs a reason to be. But they simultaneously deserve a hearty round of applause for all the favorite character pieces that did make the cut–like Gimli and Legolas competing over their corpse tallies. However, there is one very clear example of something I think the movie did better: the end of the Fellowship of the Ring. As Aragorn closes Frodo’s proffered hand and quietly says, “I would have followed you to the end.”

(And Sam bawling the hobbit out only a few short minutes later: “I made a promise, Mr. Frodo!”)

The reason it remains such a great adaptation despite the many–and in many a case deep–cuts is because they captured the feel of the novel, if not every excruciating rock that lined the road into Mordor (it took me three read-throughs to start appreciating the scenery; the first two times I actually skimmed the landscape shots because there’s only so much of that I can take). And most of the changes had to be made because of the limitations of the media. Time is a constraint a novel isn’t bound too, and movies are more rigid in their structure due to audience expectation. But that’s a topic for another day. I’m to bed to finish reading The Two Towers.


P.S. Wrote every day I was supposed to, with not enough to show for it. This challenge has been good for my habits, but I think I need to add another layer: an amount goal/expectation. “Two rotten, stinking pages,” was one suggestion I read somewhere recently. Thanks, Mom.