“When writing doesn't work, the writer is assumed to be the guilty party.”
Teresa Nielsen Hayden

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Click through to read excerpt and to see complete cover art attributions.
this fictionette had to wait awhile for its ride
Fri 2016-06-24 23:37:29 (single post)

Y'all, I am exhausted. I have had a day. I have had several days packed into a single day. A tow truck was involved. It was that kind of a day.

Thanks to the tow truck, we did get to our hotel in Salt Lake City. That's where I'm at, and I'm about to turn in for the night--but first I wanted to announce that the Friday Fictionette for June 24 is "What They Found in the Attic." Given the nature of attics, it could be anything. Excerpt is up at the link; links to full text in PDF and MP3 for subscription-only access are available from the excerpt. Click!

I was going to tell y'all about today, only, like I said, exhausted. Thus details must wait for another blog post. Good night, all.

and sleep but not too much at all is really all i want
Thu 2016-06-23 23:49:21 (single post)

I think I have managed to do all the things.

The car has received needed maintenance. My back has received needed maintenance. I have completed all of this week's fictionette that couldn't be done on the drive or in the hotel, which means finishing the text, recording the audio, and rough-assembling the cover art. That just leaves the mechanical assembly of the PDF, and the publishing of the ebook and audio posts to Patreon. I have even managed a good hour on "Stand By"--I will call it a "good" hour, despite that the hour didn't quite see me finished typing in edits to the first scene.

I've packed my clothes and my bout uniform. I've washed my wheels and bearings. I've reassembled the kneepads that I washed yesterday. I made a start on the AINC reading. All the plants that need to be have been moved to the front patio so a friend can come over and water them midway through the week. Several containers, watering plants, for use of, have been filled and staged.

I've picked up healthy snacks for nibbling in the car. We'll pick up a little more on the way. I've emptied the ice maker tray into another container in the freezer so that the ice maker tray will fill up again, so we can have more ice in the ice chest when we leave. I've mapped our route so I can print out key elements--from our home to our teammate's address for carpool pick-up, from Boulder to Salt Lake, all permutations of hotel to/from friend's house to/from bout venue. (Sorry, still no smart phone for me. I navigated by homemade TripTiks. Remember when TripTiks were customized flip books you picked up from your local AAA office? Now apparently TripTik is a web application.)

What's left? Finishing and uploading my AINC reading. Finishing and uploading this blog post. Reassembling my skate wheels and bearings once everything's dry.

Oh, and sleep. Can't forget that.

you only get one back but also only 24 hours in a day
Wed 2016-06-22 23:56:25 (single post)

The linden tree out front opened its blossoms today sometime between 9:00 AM and noon. I'm guessing, anyway. It only makes sense. I didn't notice smelling it on my way out to the car this morning, but when I got back around lunch time the scent hit me like a ton of bricks dropped out of Paradise.

(Something else smelling paradisiacal, or at least not terrible, is my derby gear. I washed it today, every piece of it. In the washing machine on the delicates/handwash and small load settings, then a little tea tree oil in the rinse, and finally out in the sun to dry, at least until the afternoon's rain storm. I'm still not over the miracle of owning our own washer and dryer. If we'd been still on the Remington Post coin-ops, I'd have had to hand-wash the suckers in the bathtub.)

I had the car so I could get to Longmont where my chiropractic appointment was. Actually, I'd arranged with John to have the car, by dint of dropping him off at work (hence the morning out, the writing session at a cafe near his office, and the return home for noon), so I could make that appointment and Bombshells practice--but I was talked out of going to practice by pretty much everyone I mentioned my foot pains to. "We need you in top form this weekend," pretty much everyone said. "Don't injure your foot!" (That should be capitalized. Pretty Much Everyone is a recurring character in my lightly fictionalized biography.) So I restricted myself and my foot to just the chiro appointment.

I have never gone to chiro before. I mean, discounting the time I went with a "free initial evaluation" coupon to some place in north Boulder that no longer exists, which is just as well. "How are you," I greeted the practitioner, like you do. "Oh, I'm just blessed!" he replied. And I realized the waiting room music was Gospel Lite. Later, after the practitioner noticed me wearing a pentacle, he sort of speed-talked through his speech about "our God-given spine" like he wanted to get it over with as quickly as I did. Anyway, that was years ago, and I've been under no impression that it represented the entire chiropractic field.

But I was never entirely certain I believed in chiro, kind of like I'm not sure I believe in acupuncture. In the case of acupuncture, I don't have to believe or not believe; I intensely dislike being stuck with needles (not many derby skaters have exactly zero piercings and tattoos, but here I am), and my one attempt at putting up with it involved pain and tears and will not be repeated. ("What do you mean you can't stand needles? You play derby! You obviously have a high pain tolerance," says Pretty Much Everyone. I can only reply that blunt force trauma is very different from piercing trauma. I have a high tolerance for the former; for the latter, I have exactly as much tolerance as it takes to receive a flu shot at the pharmacy or a gumfull of anesthetic at the dentist's office without giving in to the urge to flee, screaming, for the nearest bunker, or library, or better still a bunker furnished with a library and also squishy plush animal toys for hugging very fiercely.)

(...Where was I? Right.)

In the case of chiro, well, something needs to be done about my back, and our roller derby league gets a generous discount from a Longmont office that sponsors us. So. I went.

I went. I got interviewed and evaluated. I got x-rayed (turns out cancer survivors must, by law, because cancer and its treatments don't necessarily play nice with long-term health of the skeletal system). I got massaged. A lot. (Her: "Tell me if we go past 'hurts so good' to you wanting to hit me." Me: "Not even close." As long as there are no needles...) My foot even got massaged. I mean the foot with the twinges that are why I'm resting from derby tonight. Then once I was judged loosened up enough for it, I got adjusted. It was surprisingly gentle. The drop tables they use are genius and make things much more comfortable than just getting squished at the track-side table that sometimes appears at roller derby bouts. Also, unlike with the track-side tables, there's an understanding that the patient will be back for repeated treatments over time, so there's no pressure to try to fix everything today.

(Nevertheless, it is remarkably creepy to get a neck adjustment. I know, intellectually, that they're not in the habit of killing their patients, but it's hard to shake the instinctual certainty that I'm about to get my neck snapped. I guess that's why they do that tap-tap-tapping on the other side of your neck and say, "Focus here," so your attention is elsewhere long enough that you're not tensed up with dread about the time they make your neck go crickle-crackle so suddenly.)

I'm to go back in tomorrow for a full body massage to get me loose and limber before the weekend's bouts. Which is fantastic and surprisingly affordable but also this was not in my previous plans for the day before we drive out of town. My plans were a full day of writing, a whole bunch of recorded reading (for AINC and for the weekly Audiofictionette), all my weekend packing, grocery shopping for road trip snacks, and a thorough cleaning of my skate wheels and bearings. All that before going downtown to meet some friends for trivia at Conor O'Neill's. Only John suggested it would be best to bring the car in for a check-up before doing eight hours in upper-80s/low-90s weather, so OK, I'm bringing him to work again and then bringing the car to the shop. And now I also need to be in Longmont at eleven, which means that instead of getting many of those other tasks done at home while waiting for the car, I'll be walking from the shop to the nearest BOLT stop and busing up to Longmont. And back. (Maybe I can get some writing done on the bus?) And it turns out--surprise!--that getting work done on my back makes me exhausted for the rest of the day.

Which sounds like I'm complaining about getting a massage. I'm not! I'm quite looking forward to the actual massage bit. Really, what I'm complaining about is that damn stupid arrow of time and its tendency to keep flying into the future so relentlessly. Isn't that what all the complaints come down to in the end?

All in all, I'm glad I took the time to wash the derby gear today, because I sure wouldn't have time tomorrow. Oh well. Here's to a better back and better sleep going forward, anyway.

stick a fork in it and call it entertainment
Tue 2016-06-21 23:02:19 (single post)

There's a point with any piece of writing when you have to just declare it done and send it out into the world. There are a number of ways to recognize when you've come to that point. For instance, author and writing instructor Jim Macdonald reminds us that your story is done "at the point where you're putting in a comma in the morning and taking it out again in the afternoon." But there are other symptoms that may present. The telling symptom in the case of "Stand By for Your Assignment" is... Well, it doesn't package well into a single sentence. Tell you what, I'll start a new paragraph and try to describe it there.

Today it occurred to me that it's been a couple weeks since I hit the story last--weeks in which I really didn't get a lot done, what with lack of sleep and too much upper back tension and also brain weasels. But for whatever reason, I didn't recall where precisely I'd left off with the edits. I had a vague memory of hitting the last page, though, so I figured I'd more or less finished the previous iteration and might begin a new one.

That's the main symptom I'm recognizing here. "Iterations." The idea that being done with revisions means starting revisions over again. It's not a key symptom in and of itself; stories can often benefit from multiple passes. But there needs to be a purpose to the new pass. I'm afraid that right now my purpose was to look for, or, if necessary, manufacture evidence that the story needs more revision.

Now, I think the story really did need more revision. When I printed out and read through, I encountered a bunch of lumpy bits, awkward passages, top-heavy paragraphs, and missed opportunities. These things do need fixing.

But after this pass, after the next few afternoons spent implementing the edits suggested by the marginalia I scrawled today, I think we're going to have to call it done and submit the sucker. It still won't be perfect, but it never is. Perfection isn't a feasible destination; it's just the direction in which you aim yourself. And hopefully each story I write will wind up farther along that vector before I decide it's as done as it's gonna be and I send it out to meet the nice editors.

On the bright side, I did get a revision session in today. After several weeks of not touching the story at all, that's huge. That's a victory, and I'm going to celebrate it. I may celebrate it by going to bed early, mind you, that may be all the celebration I'm up for tonight after a hard roller derby practice in 90-degree weather, OK, but I will celebrate.

anniversary number what the heck my how time flies
Mon 2016-06-20 23:52:29 (single post)

Today was the summer solstice and also our wedding anniversary, John's and mine. The two do not always coincide, what with the solstice's wandering each year between the 20th and the 22nd, but it fell on the 20th back in 1998 when we chose to hold our handfasting on that spoke in the wheel of the year, and it fell on the 20th this year too.

It also happens to be my parents' anniversary. My mom, bless her, no longer remembers the words for a lot of things, and she's lost an appalling amount of names and faces and memories, but she remembers the significance of June 20th. "We've been married 47 years," she said to me on the phone yesterday. "That's fantastic," I said. "We've been married 18. It's not as impressive as 47, but we think it's a good start."

Some years we reserve a table somewhere fancy or fun, like the Melting Pot in Louisville or, when it was still around, John's Restaurant (no relation) on Pearl Street. This year we opted to stay in. He hit the grocery on the way home, I biked to the farm for our CSA pick-up, and together we made home style mac 'n cheese, a big salad, and some garlic bread.

I will share with you the garlic bread recipe, because it's the first time I got it right. Previous times, I melted butter, stirred in minced garlic, then spread it on bread which I cooked under the broiler. It was good, but it was weirdly one-note. The butter flavor was "thin," if that makes sense. Even sprinkling grated Parmesan cheese on top only did so much. But today I went looking around online, found this recipe, and realized that the key was using garlic powder rather than minced garlic. Garlic powder mixes the flavor through the butter much better. It also seems to thicken the spread somewhat.

  1. Hack the end of last week's Artisan Sourdough Bread into thick slices.
  2. Melt 1/4 C butter in the microwave.
  3. Add to the butter 1/2 tsp garlic powder, 1 tbl minced fresh parsley, about 1/4 C shredded or grated parmesan. (Recipe calls for salt and pepper. I forgot to add it.) Stir, stir, stir.
  4. Spread butter mixture on each slice of bread.
  5. Stack bread and wrap tightly in plastic wrap. Store in the refrigerator until dinner time.
  6. While the macaroni water is trying to boil, preheat oven to 350 F. When oven goes ding, put bread in for about 8 or 10 minutes. Then turn oven up to broil and let it go another couple minutes until edges are as crispy as you like. (Do not overdo this unless you like your crust to be as hard as a rock.)

John proclaimed the crunchy crispy garlic bread to be the perfect textural contrast to the soft mac 'n cheese, and his sweet tea to be the perfect taste contrast to the tart pomegranate-chocolate vinaigrette on the salad. (It's our last bottle of Ravenous Chocolate. I have no idea if the company is still around. They used to come sell their salad dressings at the Boulder Farmer's Market.)

After dinner, we settled into the couch for the reading of Chapter 19 of Ancillary Sword. Just that one chapter, mind you, however much we want to devour the rest of the book in a sitting. We hope to finish up before we leave town Friday morning; then we will only need to bring one book with us (Ancillary Mercy, of course) rather than two. ("Are there really only three books?" John asked mournfully the day we read Chapter 17. "Well, so far, yes. And a handful of short stories." He thought that was Sad.)

Eighteen years. Nowhere near done yet. But definitely a good start. Let's keep it up.

Cover art features original photography by the author, who isn't sure how she managed to avoid getting wax everywhere.
get up on time, get enough sleep, pick one, you still get a fictionette
Sat 2016-06-18 02:30:32 (single post)
  • 1,509 wds. long

OK so it's technically Saturday now, but I haven't gone to bed yet, so it's morally still Friday. Or philosophically. Or something like that. Something like that is my story and I'm sticking to it, whatever it is.

Your Friday Fictionette for June 17, the third Friday of this month, is "Happy Birthday, Dear Bob." It's one of those funny horror stories that I sometimes write, which I then have trouble convincing people is actually funny. It is not a spoiler to state that Bob is emphatically not having a very good birthday. Bob needs to learn to stick up for himself! It's hard.

I succeeded at getting up on time! Last night wasn't as bad as Wednesday night, but it was still pretty bad, how long it took me to get to sleep. Nevertheless, I got up to see John out the door to work, and then I stayed up. I am considering this a victory despite how slowly I moved through the day and how late I got done with the day's work. I'm running on not quite enough sleep; moving slow is expected behavior.

(One of the exercises in The Artist's Way is to list ten ways in which you're mean to yourself. One way I've been mean to myself is dismissing small victories for not being good enough, or for not being the victory I really want. I'm practicing congratulating myself on small victories. This is me, practicing. Yay, me! Good job getting out of bed and staying out of bed!)

I will need to finish next week's fictionette early. My fourth Friday in June will be spent driving to Salt Lake City--that's about eight hours away--for Wasatch Roller Derby's Great Salt Skate. The BCB All Stars will compete in three bouts. I'm going to be skating in all of them. I'm also going to get to see a very dear friend, someone I met at the same summer camp where I met John (she was my roomie!). I last saw her just once several years ago for about three whole hours, and one weekend several years before that, and so forth back through the years until we wind up back in those first three weeks during the summer of 1992. But I'm going to see her the weekend of June 25--and she's going to get to see me skate! I really hope she gets to see me skate well and not make a fool of myself... (That would be the nerves talking. I am a bundle of nerves.)

Anyway, it will be terribly exciting, but it means I have to get the weekly tasks done somewhat earlier than the last wee hours of Friday, technically or philosophically speaking. So it's a good thing I intend to continue getting up on time between now and then, every day, no exceptions. And hopefully sleep better at night and function at 100% during the day. Right? Right.

you know what else lack of sleep is bad for writing performance that's what
Fri 2016-06-17 00:31:33 (single post)

My sleep cycle is all messed up. (Yes, this will be a complaining, lamenting, and whining sort of post. It happens.) I'm having trouble getting to sleep at all, is the problem. It's kind of a big problem.

There are any number of causes, or rather factors, all working together in a horrible tag-teaming conspiracy. There's the constant tension in my shoulders that makes it hard to get comfortable and relax. There's the irritating need to visit the bathroom every half hour despite having consumed no liquids since toothbrush-o-clock. Also despite having a heroic daytime capacity to go without a trip to the toilet for hours. Even during roller derby scrimmage hours. But the moment I try to go to sleep, bam, it's constant potty emergency. It's uncanny. It's ridiculous. And of course that's when our neighbors on the other side of the bedroom wall will decide it's time to crank the stereo. Or the mysterious Two O' Clock Overhead Furniture Moving Or Whatever The Hell The Banging Is will commence. (Seriously, I have no idea what it is or where it's coming from. Our upstairs neighbor is an elderly lady whom I just can't see dragging large objects around the house late at night.) Oh, and then the brain weasels will start their little dance. "Hey! Hey! So that dream you had last night, the one you're thinking about now, did you notice that one person in it played a big part in your Worst Memory of 2015? Let's rerun that classic, K? Let's rerun it a lot."

The result is no sleep until two o'clock, three o'clock, or even bat o'clock, whenever the hell that is. I don't know because by then I refuse to look at the clock. Bat o'clock is loud. Those little critters have piercing voices. One of them likes to swoop right in close along the back side of the building. But worse than bat o'clock is bird o'clock. I typically love the sound of birds outside my window, but when I hear them at the first glimmerings of dawn it is the sound of despair. It means there's only some three hours before my alarm clock goes off.

So of course I don't get up when my alarm goes off. I go back to sleep, telling myself it's just a couple more hours. But of course it winds up being eleven, noon, or later before I manage to get up. If it's the only solid sleep I'm going to get, I'd better get it. I'm going to roller derby that evening. I can't afford to coast on fumes. Lack of sleep is bad for sports performance. Poor sports performance, at this level of play, in this sport (on wheels!), can actually mean injury. I do not want to get injured, so when I fail to sleep through the night, I allow myself to sleep right through til noon.

So my usable hours of the day shrink to something like noon until five-thirty, and it's not like writing's the only thing I need to stuff in there. And it's not like I'm going to get any work done after roller derby (blog posts like this one excepted). By then I have no brain remaining to write with and no body remaining to be upright in. So I think, hell with it, I'm going to sleep early. And I go to bed early, yes, but then I stare at the inside of my eyelids for hours. And then I sleep very late the next morning, which does not help get the message across to my body that I want it relaxed and unconscious between the hours of midnight and eight thirty.

Tomorrow, thankfully, I have a night off. No roller derby, no nothing. Theoretically I should be able to afford to drag myself out of bed at eight thirty regardless of how well I sleep tonight. Which is what I intend to do. Just reset the daily sleep cycle. If I only get three hours sleep, well, that should make it easier to get to sleep tomorrow night, right? Just get more exhausted, that'll do it, right?

I'm pretty exhausted right now. Scrimmage was absurdly successful--this whole week of roller derby practice has been fantastic; I feel like I leveled up--but it was the usual amount of hard work with the usual allotment of physical blows (I owe y'all a picture of my arms, they are multicolored) and an unusual amount of brain-melting heat. I should have no trouble getting sleepy, right? Plus I have avoided caffeine since about five this afternoon. I have taken the foam roller to the tense spots in my back. I took a couple Tylenol in hopes of reducing the background level of soreness. I am even drinking chamomile tea. I do not like chamomile tea, but I am drinking it.

Wish me luck.

but what about four mile creek is that wet too
Wed 2016-06-15 00:20:49 (single post)

There's this thing about writing that I keep having to learn, and relearn, and relearn, then learn again every time the precise context changes. It's like having to be told "the swimming pool is wet," and "the rain is wet," and "the water in the bathtub is also wet," because I never seem to mentally graduate to the point where I can just assume that all water is wet. It's really kind of annoying.

In any case, the lesson is this: The final draft doesn't come first.

I got a new story idea over the weekend, a really charming one, a sort of Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret coming-of-age story that takes place in something like the world described by The Shadow over Innsmouth, centering on the friendship between the human protagonist and one of the (for want of a better term) Deep Ones. I got very excited about this idea--it kept me up late, watching phrases and images and scenes cobble themselves together on the insides of my eyelids.

Then I went to write some of it down for the next day's freewriting session... and it wouldn't come. Just couldn't get started. Typed a couple words. Erased them. Stared at the screen (which was infinitely less inspiring than the insides of my eyelids). Wrote and erased another word. It was like that Monty Python "Novel Writing" skit: "I am sorry to interrupt you there, Dennis, but he's crossed it out. Thomas Hardy here on the first day of his new novel has crossed out the only word he has written so far, and he is gazing off into space." It's all true!

I had to deliberately, consciously give myself permission to get it wrong before I could unfreeze and get any of it written. And by "any of it" I mean a paragraph here, a slice of dialog there, disjointed bits and pieces of what I remembered coming up with the night before. But once I started jotting down those pieces, more pieces just kept coming.

The final draft cannot come first.

Today I struggled to put in my daily half hour of work on this week's fictionette for exactly the same reason. The situation was, perhaps, exacerbated by having (theoretically) already gotten the bits-and-pieces draft done during a freewriting session a month ago; this week is when I'm supposed to take that draft and polish it into perfection. But in between the bits-and-pieces draft and final draft comes something else, something more coherent than the one but necessarily rougher than the other. A second draft, maybe? Or even a first draft, since the bits-and-pieces draft isn't so much a draft at all. More like notes toward a draft, really.

So, again, nothing happened until I let myself just start writing the story down as it occurred to me, rough and unstructured as it was. Any story element I knew needed to go in there was fair game. Type them up in no particular order, just the order in which they come to mind. And, magically, structure appeared as I went, sometimes in the form of square-bracket notes telling me to "[Move the bit about Bob's plans for the evening here]" or "[Put Lenny's bit about 'work-life balance' here.]" Then continuing on as normal, confident that I could come back and perform the prescribed edits easily, now that I actually had text on the page to edit.

The final draft cannot be expected to come first.

And then there was this blog post here. I had no idea what I was going to write. I stared at the blank page (uninspiring as ever) while thoughts chased each other around in my head like fish in a bucket, all of them too small to keep. Finally I just started typing up notes about my day. Prosaic, mundane, boring notes about a boring day. Who wants to hear about my day?

Nevertheless, one of those notes...

discovered that it's ok if the fictionette isn't getting written up in perfect final draft form today. it's ok to babble a little. helped me figure out some structure that way.

...turned into what you're reading now.

The final draft, I learned (relearned), doesn't come first, can't come first, can't be expected to come first. No, not even for a blog post. This water is wet too.

I think I will write "All water is wet" on an index card and tape it to the bathroom mirror, and I'll also tape on to the shelf above my desk. Maybe then I'll stop expecting the final draft to appear on a blank page like, I dunno, Aphrodite rising fully formed out of the sea foam, ever. It doesn't happen stop expecting it to happen stop tormenting and freezing yourself with the expectation that it happen. All water is wet. Understand?

dirt under the fingernails means its monday
Mon 2016-06-13 23:58:26 (single post)

Well, not necessarily Monday, but definitely on Monday. Monday's when I have time to get dirty deeds done (dirt cheap). For instance, I've been meaning to fix my bike's flat tire for more than a week, and I finally installed the new tube today. That is an exceedingly dirty deed, and woe betide the amateur bike mechanic who doesn't have a bottle of that magical gritty orange soap on hand. I do not. I used dish liquid. It wasn't ideal, but it at least got me to the point where I wasn't ashamed to handle fresh veg at CSA pick-up.

I poked around along Four Mile Creek on my way up to the farm. I think I've found a new crawfishing hole. There's crawfish there for sure--saw 'em with my own eyes and poked at 'em a little with a stick. (Not a lot! Just enough to see 'em raise their little claws all menacingly.) Question is whether there's enough good-sized critters there for me to go home with a pound or two once in a while. More research is required.

Planted some new additions to my crowded container garden. One of my teammates tends plants at her job, and she planted extra to bring to our practice space for a league fund-raiser. Take a plant, leave a couple bucks in the envelope. Thanks to her my garden includes three very healthy tomato plants, a thriving butternut squash, and, just since Sunday, a bit of lettuce and spinach and kale. Those last three I separated (gently) in order to plant some on the back porch where it's sunny and some on the front patio where it's shady and cool. It's an experiment!

I would take a picture only it's dark now. Maybe tomorrow.

Having a functional bike again at last, I took myself out to dinner and then grocery shopping. Couldn't resist picking up a couple more plant starts while at the store. A burly and bushy little pot of thyme so I can put a few sprigs in the greens gumbo I'm planning, and a wispy but hopeful pot of dill that might one day get big enough to flavor my egg salad. (That day is not today, nor is it likely to arrive for several weeks, so I also bought a packet of dill off the fresh herbs racks in the produce section.) Turns out that in addition to being quite stylish, my Boulder County Bombers sleeveless hoodie is also absolutely perfect for transporting small potted herbs by bicycle, one plant safe and snug in each of the side pockets.

In other news, I'm still sifting compost. I finished the first round of sifting a while back, so there's no longer a pile sitting on a tarp on the back porch. But the second round, where I take the results of the first round and sift it through a kitchen colander, that's still going on. Maybe it's about two-thirds done. Last week I took some of the resulting finer compost/soil, microwave-pasteurized it, let it cool, and then used it to repot my mysteriously dying spaths. Jury's still out on whether they'll survive--I'm still pruning yellow leaves off them--but at least they're no longer rootbound nor hurting for nutrients. I suppose the rest of it will get spread around the other household plants. Whatever doesn't go through the colander has been going back into the compost bucket with the fresh kitchen scraps and handfuls of dry leaves.

So that's the state of dirty deeds around here.

I was actually of two minds about posting to the blog today. I wasn't sure I had anything worth reporting in the normal run of things, and then I heard the news out of Orlando and I really felt like there was no point. But in the end I came here and babbled anyway, mainly because I'm supposed to post something every Monday through Friday and I've been pretty bad about that lately and I'd like to get better about it--begin as you mean to go on, sort of thing--but also because aggressively asserting normality is a valid coping mechanism. So this is me aggressively asserting normality.

Tomorrow will be an aggressively normal Tuesday. There will be writing and there will be roller derby. Both of those are aggressive and normal, each to their own degree.

(There may also be a visit to the possible crawfishing hole. Maybe.)

Kerosene lamp: public domain. Bonfire: CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons. Click through for excerpt and cover art attributions.
the weekly beat-downs are no excuse, i recognize this
Sun 2016-06-12 00:24:06 (single post)

No, I am not going to start calling them "Saturday Fictionettes." For one thing, if I did that, I'd probably wind up posting them no sooner than the following Monday, knowing me. Anyway, here's yesterday's offering, bite-sized and a day late. It's called "Maggie, Queen of Darkness," and it comes with a content note for death-by-fire and suicide. Things got dark in this one, OK? It happens. Although, now that I think of it, it would fit seamlessly into the tradition of superhero origin stories, posthumous (cf. Spawn). But that's a novel waiting to happen. For now all you get is a scene.

Last week I had a valid, if vague, excuse for being late and generally unproductive. This week I got nothing. Bad habits come back quick; good habits take a lot of work. I'm working on it.

Well, possibly there's the fact that this week was more exhausting than most on the roller derby front. I was in four, count 'em, four interleague scrimmages between Tuesday and Thursday, and I was kind of fighting with a deeply bruised hip since Sunday. There is, I'm afraid, no good story behind the deeply bruised hip. I hit a patch of dust on the track, wiped out, and landed hard, instantly raising a thick lump of owie and also causing apparent sciatic nerve panic along the entire length of my left leg. I took myself out of practice and limped the rest of the weekend. I also limped most of Friday since I fell on it several times Thursday evening, thanks to RMRG's fantastic offensive blocking. Also my crappy luck--it didn't seem to matter where or how or in what direction I got hit, I still fell smack on the owie part. It's like owie parts have magnets in them that draw them with great force toward the nearest convenient object of blunt force trauma, i.e. the ground. Owie parts are in cahoots with gravity. I am outnumbered. Unfair.

Now, the bruises like leopard spots covering both upper arms, those probably have good stories. Problem is, I can't remember which one came from which hit, or indeed individual hits at all. Some of the bruises are probably from my teammates' fingers. We hold on tight to each other in our defensive walls.

Thing is, though, I don't like making that my excuse for not getting writing done. Down that path, derby eats writing all up. I am convinced, I insist, I demand that my derby life and my writing life coexist. I mean, yes, I volunteer for an athletic beat-down three nights a week and twice on Sundays, but I'm not the only one, and if some of my league-mates manage all that and some combination of full time employment, school, and child care, you'd think I could pull off a measly 20 hours of writing each week. Especially considering I needn't leave the house nor even the bed to do said writing, right?

Right, so. It's gone midnight and I should be in bed. Tomorrow's my day for double beat-downs and the schedule starts early. Rock on with your bad selves and see you on Monday. (And I mean it this time.)