Archive for October, 2009

just posted

October 31, 2009

I just posted a new chapter of my fic, about two hours ago.  It’s a little nerve-wracking, to see what the readers say.  I sort of want to throw up, run very fast and very far, or hide under a table until the reviews come in.

This, I want to clarify, is most likely a pointless fear.  This is because most reviewers are very kind, not because of the quality of my writing.  Still, the unveiling of anything new is grounds for adrenaline-fueled paranoid writer anxiety.  Because, let’s face it, when it comes to my writing, I have no skin at all (vs thin skin).  But, I will put on my big-girl writerly pants and take reviews, of any and all kinds, as they come.

The thing of it is now that I’m concerned that the readers, because there is nothing kind to say, will say nothing.  Sigh.

Or maybe the site’s review feature is broken.  That also has happened.  Eek.

Off to vomit.

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csa

October 25, 2009

The season of the Community Supported Agriculture experiment is coming to an end.  Verdict?  Totally worth it – environmentally.  Not certain financially, as I haven’t tallied that up yet.  Let’s say it cost ~$220 this season, even though the season started a little late this year and some items were not fully available.  Would recommend it with some conditions.

Main feelings on it – even though there’s been some weeks that we haven’t been able to utilize our split (have forgotten to pick it up or just haven’t eaten enough of it), I think this forces us to eat a lot more vegetables and greens – because hey, we’ve already paid for it and it’s just sitting in the fridge.  I think we’re approaching a better diet and it’s all locally organically grown – so good on the environment.  Also, there are some things in there that have forced me into greater culinary creativity just to consume the stuff so we have enough room in the fridge for the next week’s load (what the heck do other people do with a single kohlrabi?).

Some snags though:

1.  We split a share with a friend, and that works out okay, although I feel badly that we haven’t picked up hardly at all – they pick up because it’s on their way home from work and just give us half.   So we have pickup guilt.  But we certainly couldn’t manage to eat a whole share by ourselves.

2.  Because it’s picked up from the farm, there’s some more choice in the share (i.e. you can choose two cabbages or one cabbage and some squash) and I’d have liked to have known more what would be available week to week.

3.  Because of the kitchen renovation, we probably ate out more than we would have – thereby costing us more money than if there was no renovation – counting in the cost of take-out and vegetable waste.

4.  Because of the climate, there’s just stuff you see a lot of and are getting sick of (I think I’m done with beets for a while).  Not a lot to be done about that – except for actually getting out there to do the pick-up so maybe I’d have a bit more control over that.

J

October 24, 2009

She’s very funny.

W was on the phone with his sister.  SIL asked, “Did you guys get a cat?”  No, dear SIL, we did not procure a pet.  It’s merely J was crying in the background.  Yes, she does sound like a small yowling mammal – except when she sort of sounds like a small cartoon pteradactyl.

For a kid who’s not supposed to be able to roll over, J does a pretty good job of faking it.  She’s pudgy enough (in a cute way) that when she curls up into a fetal position (which is fairly frequently, but you got to give her a break – she was a fetus until two months ago) – she just rolls over.  Like a pillbug.  It’s pretty funny – and kind of cute in a klutzy, floppy body, rolly-polly, awww-she-didn’t-mean-it-sort of way.

ETA:  She’s staring to smile. In her sleep, and sometimes in response to a smile – a big toothless open smile.  It’s wonderful.

winter

October 16, 2009

It snowed last night.  Just an inch or two, but it is still foreboding of a long winter ahead.  It never even felt like summer this year it was so cold and wet.  Sigh.  Got to sort out all the clothes – the coats, boots, scarves and mittens.  And that’s just my stuff – never mind what needs to be done for the rest of the family.  And for Henry – he needs duplicates of almost everything because a set is required at daycare.

And I still have some things left to plant – stuff I didn’t get around to doing when it would have made sense.

I’ve got a friend in Los Angeles who commented how she couldn’t imagine the whole coat/layers/dressing one’s kid for the cold over and over during the course of a day.  (And she grew up in Chicago!)  One just does it, that’s all I can say, because you have to.

There’s only one cure.  Move to Australia.  That or Hawaii.

fanfic connectivity, part 2

October 15, 2009

Before anybody takes offense from the other day’s post, I ask – what does one owe the community?

I did natter on about an ideal reader, so for the record, I do want to be a good reader for other people.  I want to give good reviews – where I let the author know that perhaps I did get what she/he intended.  In other words, I want to read the same story the writer wrote (to paraphrase from another author – about two strangers at a concert who are ‘listening to the same music’).

I’m terribly lazy about reviews.  Sometimes reviews take me a long time to write (I’ve spent up to an hour dinking around with a review of a fic that’s a couple thousand words long) – because I want to make sure my intentions are crystal clear and that I am certain of the author’s intentions as I can be and that my reading is a fair one (not half-assed).

The internet is not so great with shadings of tone, and because it all seems so immediate, I do work at coming off the right way.  Harder to do than one might think with total strangers whose babied work you’re critcizing.

How else do you support the community?  Sigh.  This is one I’m working on.

edits

October 14, 2009

I’ve edited my second chapter in my one (and only) multi-chapter fanfiction; added a little tiny section and corrected for some minor spelling and grammar.  This is something I’ve already posted, and while I should’ve put out a complete chapter that didn’t need edits, that’s sort of a fantasy in any work of mine – especially since it is explicitly a work in progress.  If I’ve still got access to it, the editing is never complete (this is true for even my one-shots, which, ostensibly, are complete the minute they’re posted).

I don’t like doing that, but the new bit plays with a little concept that I’m attached to, so in it goes.  Also, I’m thinking it might find further exposure later on in the story.  My plotting is very, well, plodding.  Things don’t exactly fly in my brain right now.  I sit and sit and sit and then something pops up and maybe that works and maybe it doesn’t, and that’s it for a while.

I don’t think the term ‘plot bunny’ works for me.  I don’t ever have pieces that are bunny-like, and fast and cute (during execution, which is usually accomplished in a very uncute way with mass bitching and moaning on my part) and multiplicative.  Mine are sort of ‘plot sloths.’  Or sometimes, ‘plot hippos’ when it’s a big one – and sometimes a little unpredictable.  Maybe ‘plot elephants’ because they gestate for something like 18 months.

I’m thinking about posting some original-ly based work (fiction and nonfiction).  I was at some point thinking I’d actually publish it in some form that would involve renumeration for my time and effort, but I’m thinking if I haven’t actually done any submission thus far, then it wouldn’t probably happen.  I did submit a bit a while ago, but the one journal that responded sent back a letter saying they had gone under.  Sort of depressing.

Maybe some would consider it a sign of having given up the moneychase, but I’m thinking if I just get into a mind-set of submitting and being able to do it myself and not have to feel all dependent-like on the publishing forces that be, then maybe I’ll re-work it and see if it turns out better.

radio reading

October 14, 2009

There’s this interview of Michael Chabon by Terry Gross, which I find fascinating.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=113544878&ps=cprs

He skims over his love of comic books, touches briefly on fandom (mentioning fanfic and the impulse to create it), in the context of connectivity with other people – the ones between other fans and the ones between writer and reader.

I like what he had to say about writing – especially the parts where you as the writer imagine a perfect reader and the connection you imagine you would have with them – that they would get everything about this piece.  He put into words something I’ve been thinking about with regards to my own writing.

I mean, it’s hard when I think about the main base of the fandom being about 15 (I’m totally making that up, but I don’t imagine that’s far off – although I think my own readers are a little older and wiser) for them to truly get my sometimes convoluted and tortured texts, my attempts at cleverness, my drawn-out metaphors.  Sometimes, I think I wouldn’t get my own writing if presented to me blind – but I want that perfect reader to be out there.  I am writing for them, in a way, as I am writing for myself and my own entertainment.  That seems circular – but that’s how I’m thinking about it right now.

I don’t imagine this perfect reader (who is me in an alternate universe) to be really out there – not according to some of the reviews I’ve received.  This is not a slag on my readers – this is sort of a slag on the concept of the perfect reader.  (Michael Chabon also talked about how you do reveal yourself when you’re writing, and you know you’ve got something when you start to feel uncomfortable – well, I feel uncomfortable a lot when I’m blogging or writing fic- whether that’s ‘something I’ve got’ or not I can’t say.  I’m uncomfortable now, in part because I hope people don’t take this badly.)

I don’t want to sound needy – but this is turning into a connectivity wanted post, so….there.

Also he talks about his man-purse.  Which is hilarious to me – and because I do know a bunch of guys who carry man-purses.  I have tried for years to go without a purse, in the pursuit of simplicity.  I just had coats with tremendously big pockets, which is sort of against the idea of wallet-only.

write musings

October 13, 2009

So why do I like writing and why does it take me so frickin’ long?

I like the feedback and the feeling of community.  That’s why I haven’t just given up.

Well, there’s the research.  I love doing the research, and I get a lot of ideas from research.  It does get to be a problem, however, because of too much material.

The second thing is that I really like layering – like cakes or paint.  Think millefeuille, or very very old house where nobody prepped or scraped before slapping on another coat (like my house).  I play with themes, words, ideas, and then I go over and over and over (up to a fault, maybe).  I also want to make sure those ideas/themes flow throughout the piece.  That’s what makes it interesting for me.   Is it so for my readers?  I can’t tell.

My weaknesses, I think, other than the obsessive elements I just mentioned – are making dialogue believable, and making point of view consistent, even if it results in less than elegant prose.

A teacher pointed out that my writing style is much more based on interesting sounds than actual sense – it hurt, but he might have a point.  I do love hearing the words in my head, just rolling around.

Maybe I should get a beta.  (I’m probably always going to be thinking about getting a beta and probably never will – because I just can’t subject somebody else to my neuroses – because I’d be constantly doing things like ‘really?’ and ‘read my magnus opus again, I just made 2 tiny changes’.  I’d just as soon inflict the entire population with it and leave out a pitiful middleman.)

Oh yeah, there’s also the new baby, but her presence actually doesn’t account for my speed at all.

commerce

October 13, 2009

I’m sitting around, watching a fair amount of tv right now.

One thing I’ve noticed – the mental process of commercial editing is in full force.  I’m really paying attention to things I never cared about before having children, and then children of a certain age.  W says the same.  For example, there’s this diaper commercial that the emphasizes flexy-stretchy sides for new walkers – which is something you just don’t care about until you have a walker that needs a flexy diaper.

On the other hand, because we live in the middle of nowhere (no joke), there’s a lot of commercials that make no sense for us.  Like I care about the latest discount clothing store – most of them are at least an hour away.  Like I’d drive that for a non-necessity right now.

The other thing is the overwhelming presence  of infomercials.  I just object.  It’s one thing if it’s household cleaner – just wish it wouldn’t take 30 minutes to demonstrate.  (Although I’ve been mesmerized by some – alumalloy, for one.)   Look, if I have a problem with my bowels or joints or memory, I’m going to see a doctor.

notes on J

October 9, 2009

A nurse at the hospital commented that she had been born with a hairdo and a manicure.

Someone else said her head was like an orange – new babies are just that tiny.  (However, her head is now officially the size of an oversize softball, so she is getting bigger.)

Speaking of manicures, she’s already had her fingernails cut – but only her big toenails.  They were sort of triangular, isn’t that weird?  But they were all supersharp – like little knives; spastic mini-switchblades.

At last check-up, she’s gained well over 2 lbs – so she’s averaging above 0.5 lbs a week.  Which is awesome.  Yay breastmilk!  (So much for the little chicken legs she was born with – she’s getting fat rolls on her thighs – heehee.)

She’s getting real eyebrows – which wasn’t a real worry, considering the endowments from both sides.  Still, I’m glad to see them.

She’s got a little bit of a complexion problem – zits.  This might be why we don’t have any pictures of Henry at this age either.  That and the complete brain-numbing exhaustion of a new baby.  Yeah.

So much laundry!  There’s the usual dirty stuff (W, Henry’s and mine), then her stuff (some she just manages to wear for 36-48 hrs without a hint of mess and then immediately poops on the next 2 things she’s dressed in), then new baby clothes, the hand-me-downs, and now she’s busting out of the newborn stuff (see thunder-thighs) so I have to prep the next size up.

Sometimes, she’ll sleep sitting up, her head against my sterum.  She seems to be very fond of listening to my heartbeat (or W’s, for that matter).  It seems to comfort her.  I’ll think, this was maybe how she was positioned inside me, under my heart.   (Then I’ll start to tear up.  When does that thought get old?)