“A poet can survive everything but a misprint.”
Oscar Wilde

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

Today is a bloggity day
Thu 2006-08-10 17:51:59 (single post)

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
Tue 2006-07-11 17:06:37 (single post)

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
And it occurs to me that I really need to start looking at my classmates' stories for the Borderlands Press Writers Boot Camp (page is currently showing the Jan. 2007 session application guidelines), because that's coming right up.

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.

Anyway.

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.

Weekend Check-In
Sat 2006-06-03 06:25:34 (single post)
  • 5,000 wds. long

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
Mon 2006-04-24 20:23:04 (single post)

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.

Facts.
Tue 2006-04-04 22:37:23 (single post)

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
Sat 2006-03-18 22:30:54 (single post)

Or, "Why I haven't been blogging lately":

  1. 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.
  2. 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.)
So there you go.
$slack_days++
Sat 2005-11-12 22:54:16 (single post)
  • 13,447 wds. long

I've already lost track. When was it? Thursday? Thursday the Tenth. Right. No writing happened on Thursday, November the Tenth. It's a little misleading if you look at the Daily Word Count bar graph displayed on my NaNoWriMo profile; I suppose I must have roused myself long enough to actually update my word count. (As for the lack of bars on the Sixth and the Seventh, that had to do with being reeeally busy and then being on a train. I wrote, but I didn't get online to update my official word count.)

So what's up with that? Well, it had to do with going grocery shopping, making cat food, reducing the bedroom to its primal state of carpet and bare walls in order to clean really thoroughly, a surprise visit to Saturn of Longmont (my car didn't start the night before--surpirse!), and, so I'm told, a plume of toxic vapor over IBM. By the time I finally collapsed (from exhaustion, not from vaporized epoxy), it was in search of unconsciousness.

Which is a long way of saying that 2,000 words a day, which was at first a pleasant option to consider, is now a necessity. So it's a good damn thing I did just about that today.

Meanwhile, the story progresses. The characters keep doing things that surprise me. The chapter in which Gwen explains things to Brooke ("By the way? You're imaginary. I made you up") was not intended to have a mutual crying jag in the middle of it, but conversations between fictional characters will turn in strange ways. Also, that sex scene in chapter nine? It went and developed Serious Foreshadowing right there at the end. Yeah. Not expected.

That kind of stuff, characters doing stuff I hadn't planned on, saying things that have Themish and Metaphorical implications--it makes me fall in love with writing all over again.

*Bliss*

Not Quite An All-Nighter
Thu 2005-11-10 01:00:53 (single post)
  • 10,115 wds. long

This to be said about IHOP's pumpkin pancakes: They go best with butter pecan syrup.

John and I pooped out of the IHOP All-Nighter at around midnight-thirty. I was tired, and he was getting bored. We're both hitting Week 2 with a vengence. Week 2 is when the novel stops being fun, see. I think I'm digging a few holes through that wall, though. Slowly but surely. Taking a spoon to the mortar and sccrrraaaaaaping awayyyyyyy.

The thing about all that scraping is, odd fragments of things show up amid the mortar crumbs. Paradoxically, I have to make up fresh details in order to give my talemouse an ambiguity to chew through. How does he get Brooke out of her own timeline and into Gwen's? He gnaws a hole where a little yellow flower grows in the park, just something that Gwen put there for color but didn't bother to identify or describe or even think about. And Brooke fell into the hole. How does he keep tabs on Brooke once Gwen finds her in Central Park? He rides in the skin of a bit-part character, a jogger I threw into the scene to keep Brooke and Gwen from turning into talking heads. Just something to distract Brooke for a moment, a jogger running by. Unnamed, unimagined, it gives Rakash Sketterkin a way in.

So there's a jogger that wasn't there before, and a yellow flower that I had to go back and add, just so I could say that the story was vague about the jogger or the flower.

I keep referring to the failure of "Gwen's author"--me--to imagine things properly, or to the fact that "Gwen's author" has never seen New York. Which sort of makes me a character in this book. If it's a Mary Sue thing, it's the oddest Mary Sue I ever did see.

Today's leap in word count is partially due to Greywolf--that's the New Orleans Municipal Liaison--inviting me into her daily NaNoChat, where participants participated in 15-minute word sprints. I got something like 228 and 336 words in those two races, words I think I can be proud of. Then another 800 or so at the IHOP later in the evening, followed by 300ish in bed just now. Today was a good day.

Tomorrow, well, who knows. Tomorrow will be full of laundry, house-cleaning, cat food making, and car repair. The car died on us today. I think its alternator went wherever it is that the dogs go at the end of a convention. You know. During the dead dog party.

With any luck I might still be able to, on top of everything, attend another write-in. Wish me luck!

Inspiration Strikes in the Dentist's Chair
Tue 2005-09-20 11:06:48 (single post)
  • 49,294 wds. long
  • 83.75 hrs. revised

Well, periodontist, actually. But it was at my dentist's office.

Yes yes yes long time no blog what a slacker what a bum talk about procrastination. Indeed. House painting, house cleaning, community knitting, Cessna flying, guest preparations, Saints watching, and all that jazz. Excuses, excuses.

Back to the dentist's. By the way, you would think that one could get some writing done while lying abed in post-op mode. You would think, wouldn't you? Uh-huh. Anyway, Friday my mouth got hacked into, in the service of keeping my teeth for my old age. Apparently it's a bad thing for tooth longevity when there's no thick, pink "attached tissue" in front of your tooth, but only the thin, darker, capillery-filled "movable tissue." And they have ways of making your mouth conform. It involves lots of local anasthetic, scapels, and stitches, and no eating of chewy things for days and days after.

This makes road trip novels like Neil Gaiman's American Gods a bad choice of post-op reading material. I mean, the characters keep stopping for hamburgers. Oh my sweet everloving Deities I want a hamburger.

Anyway, sitting in the dentist's chair and trying to ignore the sharp things. The periodontist says, "You can totally just close your eyes and go elsewhere, you know. I won't be offended. No. Seriously. Go paint your house or something." So I closed my eyes and tried once more to listen in on my characters' conversation again. I don't know what's been taking me so long about that--I guess not enough long, sustained time staring in panic at my computer. So apparently oral surgery is good for invoking the same sort of panic, I guess.

Brian: "Oh my God, Mike! You're alive!"

Mike: "Well, yeah. But you knew that."

Brian: "But that was a dream... wasn't it?"

Brian: [chuckles] "Little bro, you always were in denial."

Not exactly quotable dialogue, not exactly final draft material arising fully formed from the brow of Zeus, but useful. Informative. Brian's in denial. Well, duh. But. That makes everything make sense.

That plus a few tips from Mike on how he actually would act in this scene, and I think we're rolling again.

(After that, the hovering-over-the-Puget-Sound visualization sort of morphed into standing on the red pedestrian bridge at the mouth of the 17th Street Canal and watching the pelicans preen themselves, and I got a little teary. Which is not wise when someone is sticking sharp things in your mouth. And now I have to add "Nostalgia" to the growing list of categories invoked by this entry. These entries really need to get a bit more focused.)

Meanwhile, Cate's coming to visit tomorrow. Excitement! More house cleaning! A trip to the airport! A trip to the other airport! Goths Having Tea! And early morning writing sessions while everyone else is still sleeping, if dailiness is to be cultivated. W00t!

More later, possibly with pictures.

You know you wanna.
Cleaning House
Wed 2005-09-14 07:47:01 (single post)
  • 49,315 wds. long
  • 83.25 hrs. revised
  • 51,821 wds. long
  • 53.00 hrs. revised

At right: Uno argues his usefulness in helping John re-assemble our bachelor-pad-style entertainment center, which we'd disassembled in order to paint the last living room wall. Meanwhile, I discover twenty-year-old addictions hiding underneath all that dust.

Sometimes, to break out of a rut or rediscover your passions, you just have to rearrange the furniture. We've been spending a lot of time on the couch since moving its L shape to face west and south. It's just so comfortable now. With the entertainment center against the west wall, we can watch TV or manipulate the CD-player aspect of the PS2 by remote from the kitchen table, and wires no longer lie in walkways. The desktop computer has its own little nitch, the up-lamp is out of the way, the modem and router are easier to get to--the living room is just more livable.

At least, for now. Give us a few months, and we'll be sick of it again, ready to rearrange the furniture once more.

We're in heavy-duty clean-up mode not just because of wanting to get at and paint walls, not just because of wanting to rearrange our living space, but also because of an impending visit. Someone John met at GenCon, a lovely gal by the name of Cate, will be staying with us during the third week of September. If she's able to find the futon in the second bedroom and even sleep on it without risking a broken limb getting to it, that would be considered a bonus.

Of course we want to show Cate the sights of Boulder. Afternoon tea at the Dushanbe Teahouse, for instance, is obligatory. And since the best sights of any mountain town are seen from above, we've got a flight in a Cessna 172 planned for Thursday morning the 22nd. Which means I need to get back up to speed in a hurry. My log book shows exactly two flights in the past year. Two hours with an instructor back in February, and an overnight cross country to Rock Springs, Wyoming, in September of last year.

As of now we can add to that an hour with an instructor today. Whee! I can still fly! Good morning, November 64548. Pleased to meet you. How's your engine feeling today? Full throttle for cruise, huh? Tch. Oooh, nice taxi steering...

I'll be doing some solo practice on Monday, since we only had time for two of my three takeoffs/landings needed for me to legally take passengers. And then we've got three hours on the 22nd to play, or go to Greeley for lunch, or whatever. And then in October, I've signed up for the mountain course one of the instructors offers. Some ground school, some basics, and then a cross-country from Boulder to Leadville and Glenwood Springs and other scenic points. October is going to be expensive. But it's going to be gorgeous.

So. Flying, cleaning house, moving furniture... Writing! Yes. Well, no rejection letter from WOTC yet, so Drowning Boy is still a priority. Still haven't convinced the brothers Windlow to let me listen in on their reunion conversation. I'm starting to get peeved at them. And October is coming up super-quick, but my read-through of Becoming Sara is still stuck in the middle of Chapter 2, which isn't even to mention that the rewrite stopped at around Chapter 5 and hasn't progressed. Retooled part of some key dialogue last night, though.

I'm. So. Damn. Slow. But hey! I can fly!

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