inasmuch as it concerns Surfacing:
Excuse me, Miss Would-Be World-Famous Author, but when you get a moment to visit the real world, could you take care of some, y'know, responsible stuff?
That is all.
More later when my brain returns.
Obligatory Fruitcake Post
- 45,925 wds. long
Every year, around this time, some version of this conversation occurs:
Me: "Oh my Gods! It's November!"
John: "Well, yeah. Hence all this NaNoWriMo stuff."
Me: "No, but, it's November! And I haven't started fruitcake yet!"
John: "Oh. Must you?"
Yes, I must. Preparations have begun. A couple pounds of dried stuff (currants, dates, strawberries, cherries, blueberries, mango) are at this moment reconstituting themselves in brandy. In other bowls, measured and chopped quantities of candied things (papaya, ginger) and nuts (walnuts, almonds) lie in wait. Tomorrow, all these things will go into the oven with just enough cake batter to hold them together. Then, the cake will sit and sit and sit and furthermore get drunk.
John and I plan to spend Christmas and New Year's in New Orleans with my family. The fruitcake will come with us. My family likes fruitcake (I usually mail Mom and Dad a slice) which is why John thinks we're all fruitcakes.
In other news, for all intents and purposes, I'm at 46K. 2K each tomorrow and Thursday, and I shall have a sparkling purple WINNER! bar. But I don't think I'll have THE END. There is loads of character drama betwixt now and then. Not to mention 6 days worth of plot.
Home Again, Home Again, Jiggity-SNOW.
Hurrah! In addition to being a newly minted Viable Paradise graduate, I have also survived the journey home. All the trains were hyper-fast this time around, so I ended up puttering around stations a lot (when I wasn't hiking around downtown Chicago). And I got home just in time to catch the winter's first snow on the valley floor.
Me, during the ride home: "Wow, look at all those low-lying gray clouds over the mountains. Think it might snow today?"
Me, some 4 hours later: "Definitely."
I have mixed feelings about coming home to snow. I was pretty much done with appreciating the mystic beauty of snow since March '00. Since then my attitude ranges between tedium ("Oh, Gods, more snow") and guilt ("Don't bad-mouth it, we need the moisture"). But at least I wasn't somewhere warm like Maui or New Orleans this time, for the climate contrast to really rub in that vacation is over. New England was pretty blustery; the instructors, particulary Jim Macdonald and Teresa, were commenting on this being the coldest VP yet.
So I have a lot of work to do this week. I have the final (for now) StyleCareer.com eGuide to complete and turn in; I have comments on The Drowning Boy to compile and compost; and I have a revision of "Putting Down Roots" that really has to happen, like, now. MacAllister has threatened me with dire abuses should I fail to send a copy to Ellen Datlow by November. And Mac knows her stuff. Do not cross that lady.
But right now I am enjoying being back in my own house, napping in my own bed, and having a long, guilt-free soak in the bathtub. Work can happen later on tonight. Thththbbbp.
Bloggity Continueth (with thoughts of revisions ahead)
Wearing my Metroblogging hat and back-filling my New Orleans visit, I've gotten as far as... Day 1 of the Habitat work week. But in my defense, it's a long damn post. So there. I think the rest of them will be somewhat shorter, having gotten some of the "how ESTHFH works" stuff out of the way.
[back of hand to forehead, eyes rolled heavenward] On I slog.
Meanwhile, rather than getting stuck in the past, I have put up a post at Denver Metblogs celebrating the annual corn harvest in Longmont. The recipe is tried and true as of early this afternoon, so if you are not averse to dairy products or foods with a high glycemic index (SugarBusters need not apply), have at it and enjoy.
Meanmeanwhile (is that a word?), thoughts are straying towards the inevitable revision of the soon-to-be-retitled "Putting Down Roots". As usual, I'm squeamish about reading all those comments everyone wrote in the margins. I don't think that ever gets any easier; pushing the fear aside and reading the critiques anyway, it only becomes habitual, not easy. But I can't put it off. A golden opportunity for an editorial audience opened up for me at the writing workshop, and I can neither run the risk of letting it go stale or submitting anything less than the best this story can be.
Some thoughts to incorporate in the revision, culled at random from my memory of the past weekend:
- People don't talk to bananas, at least not in a serious horror/SF story; and
- People don't go from worrying that their spouse might be deathly ill to pressuring said spouse for sex in the space of a paragraph; and
- If a character is going to be more ignorant than the reader, he needs a good excuse; and finally
- If you're going to have aliens in a story, you'd better damn well mean it.
Today is a bloggity day
Because I am behind.
I have blog posts to write for both the New Orleans and Denver pages at Metroblogging, because I've been in both places recently. But because both places involved vast amounts of Busy Up To My Eyeballs (Habitat for Humanity, StyleCareer.com, Borderlands Press Writers' Boot Camp, and election judge duties), somehow the bloggity never got done.
Yes, I know back-dating is for losers. Whoop-de-doo. Back-dated content is better than no content at all, that's what I say.
Off I go, then!
Goal Post: Tue/Wed Jul 11/12
Schedule realities require that I think of today and tomorrow in terms of one goal-setting block. First, notice it is no longer noon or one. I don't recover from all-nighters quickly or easily; I need my eight hours of sleep back before my brain starts working. I mean, the guy from Hi-Tech Appliances had to tell me what day of the week it was before I could even begin to decide when I'd come pick up the freezer gasket I'd ordered. I didn't really start getting up again until 5:00 PM.
Writing hours remaining today are rather scarce, and doubly so tomorrow what with my part-time job and my semi-monthly writing class. So I s'r-pose my goals for end-of-day Wednesday are going to look something like this:
- As much as I can get done on the freelance gig
- Another critique at Critters.org
- My "homework" for writing class
Gah. How do I do that to myself? So much to do, so little time--next time I hear Tommy Shaw singing the Styx tune "Too much time on my hands" I'm going to magically walk into the radio and back in time so I can shake him down for some of that. I mean, he's obviously not using it.
Right now, before I get to work, I have to go Esbat shopping. That might require some explanation. Sit tight, it's wordy.
Sometimes, friends I haven't seen in a long time will ask me, "Are you still a practicing Wiccan?" That always strikes me as odd. First, because no one would ask the rest of my family, "Are you still practicing Catholics?" But, y'know, Wicca is a young religion and still widely considered "fringe." For some people it's still a bit of a sideshow--remember Mad, Mad House? So there are those who expect it to be a passing phase that I'll get over some day, rather than simply part of my identity as they would if I'd chosen a more mainstream religion. Give it another 50 years, I guess.
Besides, even fellow Pagans don't take for granted that my beliefs haven't changed. They ask that question too. I suppose it reflects an underlying assumption among the "New Age" community that spiritual seeking isn't a sign of doubt but growth. If any of my older family members stopped being Catholic, we'd all wonder what was wrong, what crisis they'd undergone to shake their faith. It's a basic tenet of Christianity that faith will be tested and must be defended. But a Pagan religion comes with no obligation to defend the faith in that sense. Defend our religious rights, yes, and demand respect for our faith, but not defend it from spiritual crisis. No Wiccan clergy would concernedly visit my house and try to counsel me if I stopped believing. Sometimes one's soul goes looking for new shoes, is all. So the question "Are you still Wiccan," from a fellow Pagan, is no more disrespectful than "Are you still living in Boulder?" or "Do you still like to keep cats around the house?"
OK. Wow. Tangent. I'm really trying to get around to the second reason it's an odd question. Which is, I never quite know how to answer. I haven't exactly been practicing much. My husband and I observe Samhain, because that's traditional between us, and Summer Solstice, because it's our anniversary, but we don't usually go out of our way to hold ritual or worship with a community. So I joke about it: "Well, we're lapsed Wiccans." "You know how there are Christmas-and-Easter Christians? We're Samhain-and-Beltaine Pagans." Well, today I realized exactly how true that is. A quick rummage through my box of candles reveals absolutely nothing suitable for compass-quarter votives. Oh, how low the pious have fallen. So. It's the full moon tonight, and I have to go Esbat shopping. Ta.
Yo. OK, so, the story is now down to with 50 words of 5000 words. Which means I'm allowed to say "about 5000 words" and send it in. Which I did Thursday evening. Ms. Last minute, that's me. The first 1200 words were really easy to cut, what with pointless mental meanderings and obnoxious repetitions and the plot holes that were more verbose than the sealant used to plug them. The last 300, now, those were damn hard.
Last weekend was pretty action-packed, between movies and concerts and 10K races. OK, well, one of each. But still. One of each is plenty. Saw X-Men 3 and the Cars/Blondie Road Rage tour, my opinions of both of which you can read over at my latest blogging gig. Did my fourth Bolder BOULDER in 1:30:30, my best time yet by about 4 minutes (yes, I suck), and my bodily reaction is somewhere between "ankles and knees no longer sore" and "toenails not quite fallen off yet."
On for this weekend: Pretty much everything I've been yammering on about for the last few weeks. Working my way through The Golden Bridle and maybe getting "Snowflakes" closer to ready to submit somewhere. Kicking finished stories off the couch and back out into the world. Logging some five thousand words or so on the current work-for-hire assignment. Y'know. Writing and stuff.
In other news, I hear the AbsoluteWrite forums are this close to resurrected. (This link goes, not to AW itself, but to a post at the temporary forums telling us to please not try to visit AW because all the server's resources are needed just to install and heal up the database that the greatly dishonorable web-host-of-a-million-contradicting-stories, JC Hosting, gave the gang a 24-hour window* of access to (after sitting on it without sufficient explanation for nine freakin' days). Rejoice and hold your breath.
*24 hours was what the gang were told yesterday in the wee hours of the morning; today the story has already changed to say that the May 22 shut-down was an automatic bandwidth overage suspension, which counter is reset automatically on June 1, so that there is no shutter on their access window. Like I said, a million contradictory stories. It's like these people have never heard of screen capture.
Advance Notice Of Not Being Dead
Hello all. Just entering minute-to-midnight deadline mode again. Deadlines which have paychecks and external pressures attached get priority in my schedule, even if they have nothing to do with novels and short stories. Such is life.
Will try to make time tomorrow for things not work-for-hire related, such as blogging about my birthday weekend (I'm 30! Hello, multiple-of-ten angst! ...OK, I'm over it) on Denver Metblogs (hello, Denver Metblogs! Did you miss me? ...No?), critiquing others' fiction as well as my own (hello, Golden Bridle! I know you've missed me), and creating new stories for publication and not (hello... ah, well, that would be telling).
And, um, paying the bills. Hello, the evil, evil bills. They sit in an evil pile on top the piano and they taunt me.
But nevermind that. Tomorrow is Ben & Jerry's Free Cone Day! We need a plan, you 'n me, a cunning plan to go and get us some! I suspect it will involve some strategic queuing up and waiting around on the Pearl Street Mall. In the snow. In the snow. Gods damn it.
Maybe they'll offer us in the Rockies a free mug of hot chocolate instead.
Yes! I am still here.
No! I have not been abducted by space-faring pirates and made to listen to Vogon poetry.
Yes! I still have non-fiction deadlines.
No! I am not going to be a procrastinatory lazy ass about them.
Yes! Something fictitious will happen between now and next blog entry, which is to say, by tomorrow night.
The Reasons Behind The Silence
Or, "Why I haven't been blogging lately":
- Fiction's on hold due to non-fiction deadlines. Once I'm back on top of schedules that will allow me to meet my deadlines with a minimum of pain, I'll hit the novels again.
- Application to VP is on hold until I know whether I'm allowed to be out of town for that week. (I might be returning to the nine-to-five world of corporate web design in the near future.)