Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Start the Book

I ran into a friend of mine who does computer support and we were talking about jobs and income.  What came out of it was that I need to produce (and sell) a book in the next six months because it's easier to make a living (?) as a writer if one is writing books instead of short stories.

So tonight I went through my Voodoo Pad wiki and I think I have the skeleton of a non-fiction book on gay men and Neo-paganism.  *Maybe* two; but I think at this very early point one might work out better.

I suppose that I should sell a few short stories first.  

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Writing Aaaargh!

On the plus side, tonight I managed to get some writing done.  It was mostly world-building for a short story.  I was so into it that I didn't notice that the AC power to the laptop had gotten disconnected until the battery had a catastrophic failure and the LCD screen went black.

I must have wasted about a half hour trying to pull my manuscript out from behind a chorus line of umlauted Y's.  They were unprintable spaces, which my word processor's global search function couldn't get a handle on.  I may be able to print out the TMP file from the system and retype what I came up with by hand.

It may have been a blessing in desguise; this is supposed to be a short story, and I probably was indulging in "Tolkien Sclerosis" and creating Yet Another Volume of "The Burridgillion"

Writing News

I guess there's nothing like a rejection to get you motivated.  I managed to write about seven pages of back-story for a new short story.   Off to write more.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Writing News

Got a nice (as opposed to a form) rejection letter from Asimov's in the mail today. Oh well. Back to the mailbox.

Lately my dreams have been taking place at shopping malls. This is a new development and I'll have to figure out if it means anything. In the past, dreams have taken place on college campuses, funky old houses, or elevators. At least the odd things haven't stopped -- for a while I thought I'd lost the ability to dream so wildly.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

A dog, Emile.

Lots of odd dream imagery which I won't share here.   Although at one point I was standing on a ledge with three other people.  Although it felt like we were on the outside of a building, I have the sense that we were inside -- perhaps it was another indoor mall setting.  

In any case, the four of us were shuffling along the ledge in a kind of hay dance move -- the first and third of us going left, the second and fourth going right.  When we reached the end of the line, we'd change directions.  As we were shuffling past each other on the ledge, we chanted, "A dog.  Emile.  A dog.  Emile."  At times it sounded like "A dog.  A meal."  We did this chanting and shuffling for some time.  

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Better Dream

Dreamt that I was on an amalgam of Reed and the UO campus.  I was on a bus.  Someone moved my desk while I was doing something else -- I didn't have an office partician and I was distracted by the view out of my window.  Interestingly, my comptuter screen was a view out of the window and when I did a Google Map search of Corvallis, the view out of my window was superimposed over the view.  

I got someone to help me move my desk back and some of my personal furniture.  

I was on a bus.  There was a family of sorts travelling on the bus, too.  They had a eight year old boy.  I had my harp with me, I think, and in any case, the boy said something about me that made me ask him if he had read any Tolkien.

Next to me, an older man was reading from a mediaeval book (there were large uncials in a language that I somehow thought was Norse). The mother was singing something, paused and asked the man about pronounciation.  He consulted his book and they continued singing.

The bus stopped, but our travels weren't done -- it was sort of a layover.  A bunch of us got off.  I started walking with the mother and man down a path.  I recognized that I was near the top of the Reed College campus canyon.  So I took a side path and confirmed that I was on the canyon path.  I called to the others to see if they wanted to join me, but I think they didn't.

It started to rain.  I think I started to fly, too.  I remember stretching out my hand to let the rain fall on it and I thought, "I could never leave Oregon."  There was an emotional reasonance as I said this.  I flew (literally) down the path.  It started to become an indoor outdoor plaza with lots of marble columns and vines and stone walkways.  

I think there was a slight break -- I think I was popping in and out my body and a kid's body.  So I was simultaneously watching and dancing in a three-way dance between a thirty-something guy and two boys.  I had a strong sense of a rotating triangle.  The dancers had theatre beards of different colors, and as they danced  cockwise, they would take pieces of their beards off and pass them counter-clockwise. Then they were doing the same with an apple.

Then there was something about me flying upside down and being passed an apple. I looked up; over the plaza was a very large dome -- it had clouds in it. I said something along the lines of, "Can you do this?" and flew up to the dome.

The clouds started as soon as I flew past the dome's base. Then a chorus started singing Carmina Burana, and then I started seeing wheels and gears. Just as the song got to the part with ringing bells, my entire body vibrated with the pealing bells.

I was descending through the Empyrean bells and gears in a kind of bronze gondola when someone flicked on the bedroom light.

I guess this is what I get for reading bits of the Nag Hammadi Library just before going to bed.

Friday, February 22, 2008

New Colors

Last weekend Mark painted the bathroom!  

It was the room we didn't do anything to when we first moved in.  It used to be a very dark hunter green that did not match the green we're using as a trim color in the rest of the house.  And the last person to caulk the shower / bath didn't do a very good job. 

Now the caulk is much better and the bathroom is a terra cotta color that we use as an accent color in the rest of the house.  Now when we use the bathroom, instead of looking pale, we look like we've been to Saint-Tropez.

Thanks Mark!

Friday Morning Dreams

Rough night.  I dreamt about gunmen with automatic weapons in downtown Eugene.  Stupidly, I was walking downtown.  I made it to a dream-amalgam of the pedestrian mall near Broadway and Charnelton and a kind of indoor art-mall when we heard a machine gun.  Everyone stopped and huddled behind art.  At one point in the dream a young woman with a pistol was threatening to shoot me at point blank range.  For some reason she didn't.

There was a slight break and I was staying in a dorm or hotel.  In a tower... for once I didn't have a dream about an elevator that opens up between floors.  No.  This time, to get to the elevator you had to go through heavy metal doors, down a dark, gear-filled cooridor, and hope the Minotaur lurking along the shadows of the machinery didn't get you.  At the time I didn't realize it was a Minotaur, I just new that it was very large, monstrous, and scary.  In retrospect, it must have been a kind of labyrinth in tower form. 

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Lunar Eclipse

Saw the lunar eclipse. The moon rose with a little slice out of it above the eastern hills around 6 PM. I watched it, then went off to UUCE to see if anyone would show up for the Impromptu Full Moon Ritual. No one showed up until another organizer appeared at 6:35, five minutes after the start time. We traipsed about the UUCE parking lot to see if the moon was visible from the lot, but it was too low in the sky to get above the wonderful oak trees surrounding the church. I said that I wanted to go to the Eugene reservoir on College Hill at 6:45. Another person showed up just as I was leaving. I paused to speak with her long enough for a choir member to bump his Prius into Mark's truck (twice) while trying to get out of his parking space. I moved the truck for him.

By 7 PM the moon was an umber ember in the sky near Regulus and Saturn. As I drove below the reservoir, I noticed that there were way more cars around than usual and remembered that Jerry Oltion had been on the news talking about the eclipse. So every diligent parent in a ten mile radius had brought their kids out to expose them to astronomy; this was cool from a higher education point of view, but not quite so cool from a parking point of view.

There was quite a buzz from the crowd milling about the Eugene Astronomy Club's telescopes. Somehow I managed to find Jerry's and Kathy's telescopes. I'd brought my harp, so I started playing it -- partially because I figured it would be a way for Mark to find me and partially because it would be fun to harp under a lunar eclipse. It was kind of funny, because when I started playing the folks around got much more quiet, and the buzz seemed to get less frantic.

I sat and played for a while. Several folks said "thanks," and one woman asked if I could play Clare de Lune. I managed to pick it out a little. (Thank you for not asking for Greensleeves.) It was relaxing and wonderful and I played until the moon started to come back. (OK, I played a little Smoke on the Water to end things.)

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Quick Report

Whew. Really busy. Went to my sister's surprise birthday party, requiring lots of interstate travel. I'm barely managing to critique stories for this week. Sigh.

And I have to have my teeth cleaned today. I really want a Pepsi.

No news (good news) from various markets.

I did have a dream... it was very surreal, and the only image I recall now was that the dream landscape (set in the hills west of Corvallis) was also an old vinyl record and that every time the phonograph needle came around to our part of the record we'd get a minor earthquake. I think it was a matter of time before the needle would actually pass over our valley.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Goodbye, Vigilant Lizards

One of my favorite shirts needs to be retired. It's a short-sleeved cotton shirt with a print of neon lizards on a blue background made by my friend and seamstress extraordinare, Laura N. She managed to match up the lizards on the front pocket seam, but not on the front where it buttons up. She was concerned that I wouldn't like it, but I pointed to where a three-legged lizard sprouted two tails and improvised an impassioned speech along the lines of, "Oh, no; you see, these lizards will remind me that human activity on the planet is causing environmental problems, and I will proudly wear this three-legged, two tailed lizard as a reminder that we must all be vigilant!." I've worn the shirt on special occasions, and I guess I've worn it so many times that the fabric has failed around the collar and other hems. Alas, now I guess the only thing the shirt is good for reminding me is that I need to shop for a new shirt.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Writing News

Survived the critique of my risqué story last night. I expected to come back with it wearing a scarlet A, but I guess the Wordos have read it all before. For the most part, the story was well received (I still have to fix some glitches, though). Whew. I still think I won't show my Mom that particular story.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Writing and Snoring

Ooops. So much for an early night.

Over the weekend, Mark used his cell phone to video me snoring. It's pretty incredible, because it sounds like I'm vocalizing. Or doing some of that throat singing. I'm surprised that I didn't wake myself up.

I've been working on a new story; I spent a lot of yesterday's writing session researching (of all things) cars. Of course, the story is still in the "Cool Concept with Jane-Doe Characters" stage. Oh well, character development is for tomorrow.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Grandma and Sleep

I visited with my Grandmother the other day; I'd say it was a fair visit -- certainly not the worst, but I've seen her doing a lot better, too. I think part of the reason the visit was so unfocused was that:
  1. I visited her around 2 PM (10 AM would have been better);
  2. the folks at her foster home just moved her into a slightly larger room, so she was thrown a little about where she was (I hung up some of her pictures and I think that helped);
  3. her medical folks recently decided that she didn't have enough oxygen in her bloodstream and hook her up to an oxygen tank (so she kept thinking it was her glasses); and,
  4. as we were going through one of her photo albums, I realized how much I've aged in appearance over the last ten years (well, I'm gray haired, but at least I won't be bald).

I think she did appreciate the visit, but after about a half-hour I noticed that her gaze kept wandering.

I think I need to manage my sleep more. Wednesday, I decided to put my keys, wallet, and cell phone in a vest instead of my bag. You guessed it, I left my vest hanging on a chair in a local establishment. Thursday I left a stack of photos for my mother by the computer instead of bringing them to her during my visit. For an encore, I locked my keys, wallet, and cell phone (in my bag this time) in the car (with the car running).

I'd like to blame the new moon, but I'm pretty sure it's skimping on sleep and not sticking to routines; I always do something stupid with my keys when I don't put them in my bag. Unfortunately, this may mean that I have to choose between keeping my keys or an Alzheimer's-lite life of sticking to routine.

Sigh. (Gads! Look how late it is; and I need to read my e-mail!)

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Latest Writing News

On the odd side: I dreamt that I had come up with a really good, simple story plot. Then I dreamt that I wrote it down. When I woke up for real, all I remember was that I was following a cardinal through a series of secret passages to visit the Pope. We'd go into a square room, he'd open a secret catch, the entire wall would swing away from him, and we'd be in a new square room with a new secret catch. Every now and then we'd enter a room just as another secret door was closing and I'd have a glimpse of bright gleams of light.

On the down side: I got a (nice) rejection from "Clockwork Phoenix."

On the good side: After I put the battery back into the laptop (sans spider), it started (slowly) recharging. After about a day I'm up to 40% of a charge. Maybe by the weekend I'll be up to 100%.

On the racy side: I decided to write a racy story; now I have a manuscript I'm embarrassed by. We'll see how the Wordos react to it.

Sunday, February 03, 2008

Computer Bug

I was examining the Li-Ion Battery for the Compaq Presario 1610 laptop I write on. The battery is really ancient, and only holds about a minute's worth of charge. On one hand, I could probably save a story draft if the power went out; but on the other hand, it limits where I can work on stories. I'm going to see if I can dig up a replacement somehow.

Anyway, when I slid the battery out, there was a parchment thin web and an old dried up brown spider in the battery bay! Who knows how long I've been carting around a dead spider in my laptop?

I only wonder if it was a momma spider and if there's an egg sack underneath the keyboard.

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Writing and Dreams

Managed to get another manuscript in the mail, queried a market to be on their fast-track e-mail list, and I added some markets to my tracking software, a PHP script (that I wrote myself) that keeps track of where I've sent stories and then lists possible markets (based on genre and word count) ranked by pay. It makes things go more quickly except there are a few stories that seem to have gone though the upper tier markets (so I need to do a little more research or consign the stories to the trunk...) and also I need to make editing when markets are open or closed easier.

In slightly related news, I've discovered the music group, "Venus Hum." Fun, hyper dance music that I could play in front of my Mother and not have to worry about the lyrics.

Last night, I had the oddest dream; Mark and I had to share a hotel room (a nice one, with an open floor plan and a well lighted kitchen with wood and marble counters) with an Evil Family of Mary Lou Retton clones. They weren't really clones, and none of them was really Mary Lou, but they had come to a family gathering that involved synchronized balance beam tumbling. And they were Evil in a middle America kind of way. Here's hoping that the Retton Family won't become a frequent dream anxiety motif. I'm not sure why my subconscious is singling out Mary Lou to be a symbol of anxiety.... now if it were a certain PDX ice skater, I'd understand.

Friday, February 01, 2008

February Dreams

I had a lot of vivid dreams last night.

Probably the most fantastical was that I was flying around in an old oaken wood and watching deer. I had to be careful about what tree branches I landed on because some of the oaks had rotted branches. The deer didn't mind me watching them too much, and two came over and started to teach me their alphabet. I got about as far as "Alapha," "Beletha," and my favorite, "Aether-E" (it had a lot of starry dots over it). They made their letters by a combination of hoof and teeth marks in the barks of trees.

I woke up, went back to sleep, and started dreaming some personal stuff, but then the dream took a detour into a kind of documentary about Greek (or Roman?) life. Think white marble columns near a beach. A bunch of us were waiting for the sun to rise out of the ocean because it was the first day of a festival. The morning was warm, and there was a very bright constellation rising ahead of the sun (now that I think about it, it reminds me of the Aether-E).

I also dreamt that I was following Nancy, a friend of mine, to my house. We were driving in two cars. The streets were icy, and spun around a little. I didn't want to turn off the main street I was on because traffic was heavy and I was afraid that I'd slam into someone. I missed the three side roads we usually take to my house. . . but somehow my car turned into a bicycle and I simply walked it the rest of the way.

In case you're wondering; yes, I saw a video on sign language last night, and just before I went to bed I was working on a short story that used to have dream sequences in it.