Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Achievement Unlocked

This past weekend has been the time for "unlocking achievements."  Friday night The Child suddenly decided that he wanted to go to the school fund-raiser dance after all (ah, the allure of ice-cream and snacks at an otherwise boring-old-dance).  Mark didn't feel like going, so I went and alternately danced and made sure The Child and his friends weren't Doing Stupid Middleschooler Tricks.  One of the perks of being a parent is dancing with wild abandon (and shoulder swaying) in front of the school to Cyndie Lauper's "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" and Men Without Hat's "Safety Dance."   I did wish, though, that Mark had decided to come along, and the couple dancing the Lindy (along with pretzel moves and the lovers-window) made me wistful.

Saturday night more than made up for a Mark-less Friday night dance.

Sunday I managed to dig sixteen holes in the backyard and sink sixteen bricks into a rough circle.  This isn't to say that there weren't stakes and strings and eye-balling the meridian and levels and prying bricks back out of the ground to move them an inch to the left.  The whole process took about two hours longer than I thought it would, but by the end I had a circle larger enough to comfortably hold eight, with the cardinal and cross-quarter directions marked.  

Since I'm the only (practicing?) NeoPagan in the house, the circle needed to be unobtrusive, the lawn needed to be usable for other activities, and the lawnmower needed to be able to pass over the bricks.  I imagine I'll mostly use it for meditation and the occasional solitary ritual.  Although the ground isn't level, I tried my best to level the bricks, so the square ones at the cardinal points should be sutable for things like candles or other ritual items.  

Oh, that's right, I dreamt I was in some giant community ritual in Corvallis, and also that my old drama instructor, Kathleen Whorley, had had her brain transferred into a cat's (she spoke through a LED mouth superimposed on the cat's.

Monday (and Tuesday) my quads (and my calves) were pretty sore.  Going to the gym Monday was ... interesting.  But I did the usual routine.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018


Went to the gym last Sunday and Tuesday night.  Yay me.  I've cut back on the weights a little because the 60lb pec flies appeared to be stressing my left elbow. 

600 words on Tuesday writing night.  The novel is in a stall and I need to either decide what to edit out or decide I don't care so much and convince myself that experimenting around is not a waste of time.

Doing some research for an anthology and coming to the conclusion that the demographic for it has switched from 1990's Wiccans in the SCA who read "Mists of Avalon" to 2010's bibliophiles who attend FaerieWorlds are Hermione Granger (and/or Katniss Everdeen) fans.  Oh, and I'm old.

On the Old Front, I've been watching the first season of "The Outs."  The second season is behind a paywall.  I'd read about the great writing in it and how it was sort of post-gay-identity politics and funny.  I went in expecting a gayer "Will and Grace" and it's more of a soap opera (maybe I should have watched more "Sex In The City").  

I think the acting is good, as there's a whole lot of silent watch the characters work things out in their heads.  But man, these gay 20-something Brookland characters are bitchy and sad and neurotic (and drink a lot and smoke pot).  I think what kept me watching it was wanting to see how the love relations would work out--the show centers on two ex-lovers and how they navigate life, love, friendship, and sex post-breakup.  On one hand, it's interesting--especially how the smart-phone and IM-ing is so much a part of their social scene; on the other hand, it's another story which reinforces the stereotype of to be gay one has to be 20-something and living in New York (or at least Crown Heights, Brookland).      

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Writing and Musing

Managed to get a little under 1500 words Tuesday night.  Wednesday, I broke down the chunk into individual scenes and removed the obvious "start-up" pieces where I'm writing notes to myself.  Looking at one scene, the character comes off as a randy guy looking to score a one night stand, and I need to either have him poke fun at himself or intersperse pensive moments or have character interaction instead of a character sitting in a common-room thinking.

I did a quick review of my story inventory, and I don't have anything that matches the anthology's new feel; either the story's science fiction, or the tone is too heavy, or the characters are gay men (the stories are supposed to have female protagonists).  I do have an urban fantasy I might send, except it ends a little on the dark side and the protagonist is neither a down-to-earth sorceress nor a kick-ass fighter.  It does have the Fair Folk in it... and there is a magic-using Fey Woman in it...and it does deal with cultural issues... so maybe I should send it (waffles in indecision).

The irises in the back are beginning their decline.  I think we have about a week of their blooms left.  The lilac is also blooming, and I'm enjoying going between the two an inhaling their sweet musk.  

Tuesday, May 08, 2018

Weekends, Gardens, Gyms, and Writing

Friday was a special dinner with my family to celebrate Mark's new job.  I had a nice chat with my Mom, and my Dad and I had a fun time singing "Cinder-Harry" in high-pitched mouse voices.  I didn't chat so much with my sister and brother-in-law; but they did like the chocolate mousse I made.   We got home late, and the cats were angry with us.

Saturday we went to the Japanese Gardens.  The day was pleasantly warm, and we got there early enough that we could park near-by.  Mark enjoyed the bonsai.  I was surprised at how much like Japanese prints of coy the coy looked like.  I'm thinking the thing I liked the best was... the artistic views through branches of mountains or waterfalls or cute little benches.   We met up with some friends and then relocated to Vancouver for the rest of the day.  We got home even later than Friday, and the cats were angry with us.

Sunday was rainy, and we mostly lounged about the house.

Went to the gym Monday :  about 25 minutes and 300 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  Downstairs 13x(40+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(40+50+60)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(70+85+85)lbs on the lat pull-down.  2x13 Roman Chair curls.  3x13x35lbs barbell curl.  Someone had switched out the handle on the triceps pull-down with two rubber stoppers on a rope, so only 3x13x20lbs there.  And then it was time to run away.

I got my hands on two previous copies of the anthology I got rejected from, and the newer editor has a different take on the stories than the original editor.   I'd say the tone of the stories has gotten lighter (but so far I've only read five out of seventeen in one anthology and two in the other).     The anthology has been fantasy-based, with swordswomen and sorceresses, and I was surprised to run across one urban fantasy set in Boston--I'll have to see if there are any more urban fantasies.

Looking at my story that was rejected for not being what the editor wanted for the anthology, I'd say while my character's existential problem is strong, her immediate problem needs to be amped up; the high fantasy setting is too high; the language too elevated above contemporary language and dialog; and there's no light-hearted laugh around the Enterprise bridge ending moment--neither is the ending a pause before "the adventuress and friend(s) go on to further adventures" ending.  Also, my story doesn't at least touch on any social issues, like class, colonialism, or prejudice (three of the stories so far).  I'm thinking my other "this is fine but not right for us" rejected stories are too high on the Tolkien-Wanna-Be scale, too.   I'll have to look and see if I have any lighter short-stories ready. 

Thursday, May 03, 2018

May Day Workouts

Went to the gym Monday (4/30):  about 25 minutes and 250 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  Downstairs 13x(40+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(40+50+60)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(70+80+90)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls.  3x13x35lbs barbell curl.  And then it was time to run away.

Tuesday was The Ides of Spring, so I harped a bit while appreciating the falling cherry petals and the blooming irises.  It was also a weird day for a lot of folks I know in a "frazzled cat" kind of way (only not just cats).  

I found myself wishing that I knew about any Maypole Dances going on, even if they are anachronistically twee, because they're fun.  

Went to the gym Wednesday night (4/2):  about 30 minutes and 350 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  Downstairs 13x(40+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(40+50+60)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60+70+80+90)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls.  4x13x35lbs barbell curl.  4x13x30 lbs on the triceps pull-down.  3x8 side and lateral dumbbell pull-ups.  And then 2x12x30lbs on the pec fly and deltoid fly again and some 7.5lb dumbbell curls for Extra Beauty.  

The only down-side of going to the gym after 8 PM is that it really wakes me up and I find it difficult to go to sleep afterward.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

Saturday Gym

Went to the gym Saturday (4/28):  about 30 minutes and 310 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  Downstairs 13x(40+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(40+50+60)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(70+80+90)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls.  3x13x35lbs barbell curl.  3x13x30 lbs on the triceps pull-down.  3x8 side and lateral dumbbell pull-ups.  

Just as I entered the gym, it started sprinkling; the result was that the rooftops across the street started steaming as the rain met the sun-warmed tiles.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Gym and Rejection

Went to the gym Tuesday(4/24):  about 20 minutes and 260 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  Downstairs 13x(40+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(40+50+60)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(70+80+90)lbs on the lat pull-down.  2x13 Roman Chair curls.  3x13x35lbs barbell curl.  I had to pick up The Child, so I cut the session short.

Mark has been single-handedly replacing the vinyl floor in our kitchen, the sanding of the underfloor has been the hardest work.  I'm thinking I should get him a Bob The Builder award or something.  The floor looks very nice, and incidentally matches our Denby.  

The weather has been sunny and in the high 70's... as long as it doesn't get into the high 80's next week, I'll be happy.  It's supposed to cloud over and be cooler later in the week.  Although the warmer weather is friendlier to my hands and feet and shoulders and knees, I am hoping that we continue to get rain, as the prediction for the Vally this Summer is for a dry summer (and drought conditions in Eastern Oregon).  The snow pack is way down this year, too.  

Tuesday night turned into an editing night, and then a socializing night.  

Wednesday I managed to set up a table under the shade of the cherry and get some writing and editing in.  OK, and I wrote some bad hikue.  And then I checked my e-mail and saw a form-letter story rejection from an anthology I've been trying to get into for several years.  I know rationally that the story isn't what the editor's looking for, and I know rationally that the editor's not being paid by me to critique my story, but man this is irritating (an abmigious "it's fine but not for me" rejection) and depressing (I'll add this to my pile of "your story is good but not good enough" form rejection letters).

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Design, Ink, Gyms, and Writing

Friday (4/13) I was having a bad day... probably fallout from sleeplessness earlier in the week.  So I sat down with InkScape and played with hexagons and triangles and ended up with a cool design.

Saturday Mark and I went to drop off his Rotating Bonsai Watering Table Made from Recycled Materials project at a local venue for Earth Day.  Then we went to the Saturday Market and got healthy vegetables and a few unhealthy pastries.   The morning was still young, and the merchants were still setting up for the Saturday Market, which is kind of more interesting than the actual market.  As we were walking by, I stopped at one booth and then before I knew it, I was getting a henna tattoo.  It's a little lizard on my left forearm.  I have sternly told myself that I will not pretend that I got an inked tattoo on my butt when I go to work Monday.

Went to the gym Sunday:  about 30 minutes and 300 calories on the Nordic Elliptical (I think, there was some craziness with signing up for the machine).  Downstairs 13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60+70+80)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls.  3x13x35lbs barbell curl.  3x13x30lbs on the triceps pull-down.  2x8x7lbs on side and lateral pull ups.

I had to stop in the middle of the Roman Chair curls because I was laughing so hard; there's a song (which I kind of like) with the lyric "I found God in your body."  So the mental image I have is of course a flip on the "sacred homosexual sex" trope, only it's straight allies having the sex and as they're discovering God, they're having this, "No, wait; we have to bring this spiritual gift to our queer friends."  

I'm pretty sure most of the other gym patrons are used to me bursting out laughing in the middle of workouts....

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Gym and Tarot Cards

Went to the gym Monday.  25 minutes and 300 cal on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(40+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+40)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60+70+80) on the lat pull down.  Someone was on the Roman Chair.  3x13x35lbs barbell curls 13x(30+30+30)lbs on the tricepcs pulldown.  And then I ran away to pick up The Child.

Did some minor editing on the novel. I was thinking about character motivation, and although I wanted this to be a fantasy action novel, the main problem has turned into how do the characters meet and become a couple -- or in other words, a fantasy romance novel.   So now I have the choice to just accept that this is a romance, or look at it and find greater problems for the characters to deal with and make the novel a fantasy action novel.  The Novel Wordcount is still 40,000. Tonight is a writing night.

I've started a quick three-card meditation with Tarot cards before going to bed.  We'll see how long this lasts.  I'm doing it not so much for cartomancy so much as for doing a five to ten minute inventory of how particular cards may or may not be applicable to my life, and thinking about how to apply the positive aspects of the card.  Mostly it's a way to try to think about my writing and the current characters before I go to bed, and it's had a side effect (well, at least for the last two nights) of having more memorable dreams.  

Sunday, April 15, 2018

First New Moon of Spring

Tuesday (4/10).  Went to the gym.  Felt a little rushed.  25 minutes and 300 cal on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(30+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60++70+80)lbs+8x90lbs on the lat pull down.  3x13x35lbs barbell curls 13x3x(30)lbs on the tricepcs pulldown.   

Tuesday Night Writing went slowly: I had misplaced my keyboard, so I wrote longhand.  Writing longhand results in (mostly) better prose as my fingers don't get ahead of my head and I come up better phrases as I'm writing instead of writing whatever and adding synonyms if the first word isn't write (and editing later).

Thursday  (4/12) Feeling fallow.  The other day I was looking through some pictures of a relative's wedding and there I was, sitting in a pew, with what looked like someone's white purse perched on my head.  Or maybe somebody behind me had a white hat.  I stared and stared at the picture, trying to make sense of what I was looking at when I realized it was my hair:  the combination of the long top and close cropped sides had come together to make me look like some old punk rocker or Blank-Reg from Max Headroom.  Comments from my family involving "your grandma Agnes" and
 "cockatoo" were not helpful. 

Saturday (4/14).  35 minutes and 310 cal on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(30+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+50+50)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60++70+80+80)lbs+8x90lbs on the lat pull down.  3X13 Roman Chair curl-ups.  3x13x35lbs barbell curls 13x3x(30)lbs on the tricepcs pulldown.  2x8x7.5lbs front and side pull-ups.  

Writing this week has gone slowly.  I think I'd call it editing more than anything else.  The project is holding steady at 40,000 words.  I'm at that point where it feels like the piece is more a collection of events with the same characters... and the character motivation and emotions need work.First 

Sunday (4/15).   I came across a Facebook posting from Selena Fox:  a picture of a dark disk surrounded by Celtic knot-work and the phrase "Dark moon. Dark moon.  We attune."  I like that, and I added "sometimes "we attune" feels like "we crave dark chocolate to stave off the feelings of listlessness and depression and to dampen the Call of The Void."  

I suppose that I should look into what it is about new moons that is connected to my low energy / uncreative state  (it's something I've noticed since the 1980's) so I can figure out if it's a circadian rythem or a self-induced placebo effect, or what.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Gym and Sleep Deprived Dreams

Went to the gym Wednesday (4/11):  25 minutes and 300 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  Downstairs 13x(40+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(70+80+90)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls.  3x13x35lbs barbell curl.  3x13x40lbs on the triceps pull-down.  2x8x7lbs on side and lateral pull ups.

I felt tired and went to bed early with the grand plan of getting up early to write -- and woke up at 2 AM with a slightly upset stomach.  And sore joints  There was a brief interlude where I went out to look at Scorpio and Jupiter; and Spencer--who was looking in our sliding glass door at Cicero and Smmokey--zipped into our house; and I got a glass of milk; and I moved to the couch so I wouldn't disturb Mark's sleep with my tossting and turning.

I thought about writing at 2 AM... and if it had been a Saturday mornging, I would have.  Instead I let the renaissance music play in my mind's background and observed varous thoughts about work and the novel and my body falling apart and whatever else percolate.

At one point I had a vision of a glowing yellowish-green point which grew into a sphere and filled most of my sight.  Three people were walking through a wood, and then a woman's shoulders and upper head filled the sphere -- it was like looking at an old black-and-white TV (only black-and-green would be closer).  In writing this I've realized that on one level I was replaying the Wicked Witch of the West's cyrstal ball, but at the time I made a mental note to myself that this is how a clairovoant spell would work.  The vision continued, and woman's head multiplied and disintigrated into seperate facial features.  I don't recall what she was saying--there might have been no sound--other than it was vaguely Sybil-like.    

Insert more lucid moments of wondering what time it was at 3:07 AM,  and 3:32 AM, and 4:01 AM and 4:22 AM.

I had been negotating some sort of business deal involving bank loans and stock options while seated in what turned out to be a Victorian Steampunk Sex Museum (Wait, those machines actually still work?  Wait, why are those--  Uh, Ouch! _That_ can't be healthy.)   Our negotiations slowed to a halt.  The proprietess stormed in muttering about keeping the establishment family friendly and turned things off.  A horde of teens dressed in animal costumes was shooed out of a doll house area, and one young man agrily shouted, "Oh my God woman!  You can't get rid of the monsters!"  As he and another glowering young woman stormed by our table, I muttered, "Put the monsters into your head."  

Insert more lucid moments of wondering what time it was at 5:07 AM,  and 5:42 AM, and 6:04 AM and 6:32 AM.

Thursday, April 05, 2018

Gym and Miscellaneous

Went to the gym Wednesday.  30 minutes and 300 cal on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(30+50+50)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+40)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60+80+80)lbs on the lat pull down.  13 Roman Chair curl-ups.  3x13x35lbs barbell curls.   Had to cut the session short.  

Finished *Palladin of Souls* which feels like it is the first book in a series:  there was a definite sense the characters would go on to do more things at the story's end... but then again, the story felt like it was the second or third boook in a series because of the strong historical sense of previous events.  

The author uses language well, and I'm thinking I want to go back and re-read the book for the prose's structure.  She's able to use compound constructions that read smoothly, which I appreciate as someone who is accused of over-using semicolons.   She also managed to write some fairly racy scenes while edging to, but not over, the line of explicit, graphic sex.  (Note to self, explore animal imagry metaphor and men's physicallity).

Went to the gym Saturday.  35 minutes and 310 cal on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(30+50+60)lbs+8x70lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs+8x60lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60+80+80)lbs+8x90lbs on the lat pull down.  13 Roman Chair curl-ups.  3x13x35lbs barbell curls 13x(30+40+40)lbs +8x50lbs on the tricepcs pulldown.  2x8x7.5lbs front and side pull-ups.  

The weekend was a fairly laid-back one.  All I wanted to do was lay back and read or work on design.  Or research.  

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

Fantasy Worlds and Language

Tuesday night was a writing night.  I think I managed 2500 words (Scrivener on the iPad reports word counts in a different fashion from Scrivener on the Mac).  I focused on character emotions more, and rounded out a minor character from a 1D girlfriend to a 2D girlfriend. 

Language bits that are interesting; I was describing a character's proclivities as not Sapphistical, when I realized that this is a Fantasy World and the historical Sappho doesn't exist, therefore, I'd need to come up with a different word.  . . . and as I'm writing this I'm realizing the Island of Lesbos doesn't historically exist, either.  I guess while I'm at it, things can't get erotic, because the pantheon that includes Eros wasn't around.   Bother.

Monday, April 02, 2018

Mentally Composing at the Gym

Thursday.  Wrote like the wind.  Was lucky enough to have J.O. come by in the afternoon and keep me honest about writing (he finished up a short story sequel).  

Friday afternoon.  Felt stuck writing so I went to the gym.  30 minutes and 350 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  (Closed my eyes and imagined various story settings and character interactions.  Now I've got to write them down....)  Downstairs 13x(30+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+40)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60+80+80)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 Roman Chair curls.  3x13x35lbs barbell curl.  3x13x40lbs on the triceps pull-down.  2x8x7lbs on side and lateral pull ups.

Saturday.   Wrote like the wind (sort of).   Got lots of words written, just not as many as Thursday. Went to Dave Bischoff's memorial at Tsunami Books.

Easter Sunday Morning.  Went to the gym.  30 minutes and 350 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.    Downstairs 13x(30+50+60)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(30+40+40)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(60+80+80)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13x35lbs barbell curl.  3x13x40lbs on the triceps pull-down.  3x8x5lbs on side and lateral pull ups.

More Writing Like the Wind.  Called various family members and wished them a Happy Easter.  Looked at the house and noticed that while it's not exactly trashed, there are a lot of things that should be put away.

Day finished with ~2500 new words, bringing the novel's total word count to about 38,000.  Editing will cut this down quite a bit, as there's a number of back-story scenes that are useful to have as research, but not so useful for the novel's story arc.  And also, there's just... warm up text or notes to myself.  So the novel may turn into a novella.  If I manage to write 10,000 words a week for the next lunar cycle, I'll get closer to the actual word count goal.

What the last four days as reminded me of:

  • my word count benefits from focused group-writing, 
  • I have a 4PM-ish slump (either a circadian rythem or else five or six hours of writing induced fatigue), 
  • I probably could happily write from 8 PM to 3 AM, 
  • my word count benefits from preparing maps of cities, countries, buildings, rooms before-hand,
  • my word count benefits when I write "[RESEARCH THIS]" instead of taking a quick peek at Wikipedia, 
  • I can churn out about 500 words an hour of OK first-draft prose, 2000 words per day is a limit I need to push against because I can double-that with the right prep / scene.  
  • there's something to be said for writing at a real desk/table.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Write Like The Wind!

Yesterday was Day One of Write Like the Wind.

Using a 50 minutes writing / 10 minutes of break method, I managed about 4000 words.   I wrote from about 9 AM to about 6 PM, with an break around noon for  70-ish minutes.

What I noticed is that my default scenes are descriptions of places or how things work, with talking-heads dialog coming in a close second.   This is the long way of saying that I'm getting to the point where the emotional calculus of my two main characters, Vance and Jerick, is coming into focus, and I want their loving relationship to be more mature... and I had planned to have them go on The Quest for the McGuffin, but either A) they need to know each other longer/better before hand or B) there needs to a stronger motivation for Vance the Sorcerer to follow his Axe-Weilding Boyfriend, Jerick into the Lannal Mountains.

I'm at 32,760 words.  These are unedited, and there's a few backstory scenes that I would either release as separate short stories, or (I guess) a prequel.   The goal when I started in February was to have 90,000 words by May 1... so I'm presently where I wanted to be four weeks ago a full moon ago, and I have until the next full moon to write 60,000 words.

Scrivener's word count history says...

Total Words

The days when I write the most are Tuesdays when go to write, followed by weekends.  Whew.

Time to get cracking on Today's Write Like the Wind, which is starting late...