“Why do I write? Perhaps in order not to go mad.”
Elie Wiesel

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

If you can't do a little, do a lot.
Tue 2014-01-07 23:16:25 (single post)
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So. Newly determined daily work schedule, as mentioned yesterday. It's more of a newly determined daily check-list to give me some focus.

Focus is necessary. It's the difference between a nebulous sort of intention to spend the day writing, whatever that means, and a tangible set of goals tacked up inside a working framework.

So the check-list goes something like this, and remember it's largely hypothetical still:

Task When For how long
Morning Pages Upon waking up Three notebok pages longhand
Freewriting After morning pages 25 minutes
Current Short Story After email break 1 hour? Maybe?
Current Novel After lunch break? 2 hours? I think?
Submit for publication Lastly As long as it takes to research a market or actually submit a thing; should submit a thing once a week
Content writing Afternoonish, if there's time Complete one blog post/article, or as much as fits in work time remaining
actually writing blog In the evening 'Til done

It's very much a work in progress. It's vague in places. This is partly owing to the tendency of household maintenance and surprise crises to make clock-scheduling beyond "Get up by 8:30" somewhat futile. This is also partly due to my never having successfully pursued a daily schedule with any regularity before, or at least not since college. How long should I devote to each project in a multi-project day? How long can I go on a single task before I'm ready to climb the walls? I really don't know. Not as a daily thing, anyway.

So this is the cautiously prescriptive version of my work-a-day schedule. A more descriptive version may be forthcoming, but don't wait up.

OK, so, right, maybe I overthink things. But that's how I function. Other people, certainly anyone who looks at the above and thinks Overthinking it much?, function differently. But I've discovered that unless I have a concrete and detailed idea of what I want to accomplish in a day, I don't actually accomplish much. I sort of float towards evening in a haze of good intentions, certain until about 3 PM that there's plenty of time left, equally certain afterwards that it's useless to start anything now that the productive part of the day is gone. Hence all the details.

Today, like I said, was full of distractions, and a perfect example of why the "When" column is so vague. To wit:

After morning pages (and I'm probably due another blog post about my relationship with morning pages), instead of going straight into freewriting, I went into the email and administrative household duties portion of the day early. This is because last night I burst up off the cusp of sleep with the certainty that at least two bills, possibly more, were late and I needed to deal with them now now now.

And then it was lunch time. No more work would happen until lunch had been consumed and about a half hour of Puzzle Pirates was played. (Those brigands don't just knock themselves out, you know.)

After freewriting, I went into full-bore clean-up mode. The first of our out-of-town guests is arriving tomorrow. The office/guest room has been in chaos since the Storm Of The Century. Said chaos consisted of boxes and other packaging materials, and also piles of things that needed to be out of the way pronto for the Winter Solstice party. Taming that chaos would be required if someone was supposed to sleep in here. And the results of taming the chaos was a car full of things to go to storage. So John and I drove stuff to storage. And bought groceries. And had dinner. And bought more groceries.

We got home, put groceries away, and promptly took note of mutual exhaustion. I confess, when John said, "Want to play with me?" and pulled up ibb and obb on the Playstation 3, it was much easier to yield to temptation than it was to pull myself away three levels later, citing my unfinished check-list.

I regarded the items on my check-list with despair. So. Tired.

Which brings me to my next new year's resolution: When I haven't time or energy to do a lot, I'll do at least a little.

"A little" in terms of my short story revision ("It's For You"): Sicced the three-hole-punch on the copies my friends recently critiqued. Filed copies in a three-ring-binder.

About that three-ring-binder: I discovered it in a pile of stuff in my old bedroom back in Metairie. It's a heavy-duty Mead number, woven canvas exterior the color of old blue jeans, blank weekly schedule and contact info list on the inside front cover, conversion tables inside the back. I'm pretty sure I once used it during high school Spanish. This is because, among the multicolored geometric doodles and surprisingly realistic stick-figure unicorns, there are rudimentary translations of Rush lyrics, lists of verbs in the infinitive, and phrases such as "diez minutos quedan" evincing a student watching the clock in desperation, probably because said student was desperately trying not to fall asleep. (Sometimes after lunch I just get sleepy. It's awful. It's involuntary. It's plagued me since at least seventh grade. It is not a referendum on the class, movie, opera, or party I'm attending, I promise!)

It delights me to repurpose this notebook, last seen in the hands of ambitious teenage me, to hold copies of a work actively in progress. It feels like fulfilling a promise. It's lovely.

So then.

"A little" in terms of working on my novel (the roller derby faeries-in-Wyoming YA supernatural romance/adventure): Installing Scrivener for Windows on my computer.

I won a copy of Storyist when I made a donation during National Novel Writing Month's big Writing Marathon + Donation Day. I was thrilled! Until I realized that Storyist is Mac only. But the NaNoWriMo rep tasked with getting a registration code in my hands decided to remedy the situation by offering me a free copy of Scrivener for Windows. So all right then.

The license for Scrivener is decidedly non-evil. I have never, that I know of, seen this sort of language in a license before:

Upon accepting the terms of this agreement, the Licensor grants you, the licensee, (“you”) and your family that live with you at the same address (“family members”) a non-exclusive, non- transferable limited licence....

This licence agreement enables you and your family members to use the Software on your own respective computers within your household but you may not copy or transfer the Software to any other computer or hard drive. Any members of your family not residing at your address for eight months of any year or more are not family members for the purposes of this licence agreement must purchase a separate Software licence. Additionally, you may make one copy of the Software for back- up purposes....

Maybe I haven't been around the block enough, maybe I'm just cynical, but I'm rather impressed by license that acknowledges that, hey, maybe the other people in your house want to use it too. Maybe you have more than one machine you want to install it on. Maybe that's how we use computers.

So. Tomorrow will be even more full of distractions, because we'll have a house-guest from about 9:30 AM on. I make no promises other than the resolutions already stated:

Distractions are no excuse;

If I can't do a lot, I'll do a little.

I feel more like Emily Dickenson already!
Communications Resume From 7,421 Feet
Sat 2013-09-28 22:22:43 (single post)
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Good evening. I'm hiding away up in Avon, Colorado for a week. It's my usual annual-or-so personal writing retreat. Let's hope it works.

Which isn't to say I haven't been writing at all since my last, very optimistic post. I finished the rewrite of "It's For You" and got some great feedback on it from my neighborhood writing group, for instance. But productivity has been sporadic.

Lately, I blame the state of the house for this. Though the Storm Of The Century (or whatever the kids are calling it) did not flood our building (we reside on the third floor, anyway), nor did it cut off our access to the necessities of daily life, it did exacerbate the existing Leaky Roof problem. We are now dealing with our leaking roof in a more active way than before.

First, we chased the leak with buckets as it colonized new areas of the house and multiplied therein.

Then, we repositioned furniture and belongings excitingly and rapidly while helpful maintenance-type people hacked out pieces of ceiling and wall. Also carpet. Anything that got soaked, maintenance hacked it out and carted it away in trash bags. The office got hit hard; it is now romantically attic-like.

Next, we had several days of phone calls with the appropriate people to coordinate the retrieval of all the Magic Fan Appliances Of +2 Drying-Things-Out. Until then, they were In The Way.

In the meantime, we had several visits from other appropriate people--on-site maintenance staff, homeowner's association board members, other HOA-related personnel--to survey the damage, make appropriately shocked noises (especially when they saw that after two weeks of sunny weather we are still getting about a pint of water per day in the buckets in the office), and go away with either purposeful or despairing looks in their eyes.

And just this morning, round about 10:30 AM, we had a surprise re-visitation by the helpful maintenance-type people, needing to take measurements toward replacement drywall and insulation. I am not sure what they are going to do with these measurements, seeing as how replacing the hacked-out stuff would be a waste of time, money and materials while the roof remains dramatically non-watertight. However, I am sure these measurements will be Helpful.

My point is, every day has seemed to develop a Dealing With The Leaky Roof component. Sometimes that component was planned. Sometimes it was an improvisation. In every case, it's left me drained and with about as much energy as it takes to log on to Puzzle Pirates and bilge until my eyes fall out for the night. Other than those things that were definitively scheduled and involved other people (roller derby practice, my weekly farm volunteer shift, cooking or cleaning so that friends could eat, drink, and be in our house, etc.), nothing was getting done.

So tonight is my first of 7 nights under a definitively non-leaky roof, away from my usual weekly schedule. Writing is going to happen, dammit.

Well, not tonight. Tonight I am exhausted. Tonight, regretfully, followed a little close on to today, and today included, in no particular order,

  • Cleaning the fridge
  • Packing an ice-chest full of fresh veggies to consume over the week
  • Packing a suitcase
  • Giving an alpaca-wool-spinning demonstration at McCauley Family Farm's "Family Farm Day"
  • Playing a few songs on Rock Band before wireless drums decided to stop speaking with the Wii
  • Cleaning up the towels used to clean the fridge
  • Taking out recyclables, trash, compost
  • Driving two and a half hours into Colorado's high country

That last one gets special emphasis for obvious reasons.

However, tomorrow is a new day. This week is a new week. If writing doesn't happen, I won't be able to blame anyone or anything but myself.

Not that there aren't non-writing temptations. Some of them even involve roller skates. And the in-room internet is much improved from my last visit, such that online gaming is always a viable procrastination tool. And the hotel's Wii game library includes Guitar Hero.

But I will be strong.

Practice Makes Permanent, On Skates and Off
Fri 2013-08-09 21:11:42 (single post)
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As blogged earlier, I was a RollerBull in this year's San Fermin en Nueva Orleans celebration. This was my second year participating, and I have every intention of going next year, too.

Last year, it felt like a huge big deal that I opted to skate from the Bourbon Orleans (roughly in the center of the French Quarter) to the Encierro starting line and central wrangling point at the Sugar Mill (a ways down Convention Center Boulevard). For one thing, it was more than a mile (or 27 laps as reckoned by WFTDA, for those of you playing along at home). For another it was more than a mile skated on unfriendly terrain.

I'm talking about the flagstones and cobbles around Jackson Square, treacherous to roll over. I'm thinking about grates and utility hole covers requiring unexpected sessions of careful toe-stop walking. I'm remembering how every bump and pebble on Decatur rattled right up my shins for blocks. And then there were the sidewalks that slouched down to the street at the curb, the curbs pocked with helpful raised bumps, the cross-streets where the asphalt broke up into holes filled with gravel and sand.

So, yeah, all that, and I was wobbly like a baby deer. But I got better over the course of that long Saturday. By the time I was hours deep in the Crescent City Derby Devils' "To Skate or Not To Skate" pub crawl, I was toe-stop hopping up curbs on Bourbon Street and skating backwards on Royal. I didn't fall down but once, and that was on a particularly rough curb-street seam on Rampart as I parted ways with the remaining pub-crawlers and headed back to my hotel room

Even more impressive was the improvement between last year and this. We are talking leaps and bounds here. Things I used to toe-stop walk over, I just rolled over without a second thought. Or I hopped over them. I started hopping over the street car tracks, y'all. Or cross-stepping over them at an angle, at speed. I climbed stairs.

Sure, you'd hope I was a more stable skater after a year of constant derby practice, right? If not, what would be the point? Still, it's improvement that comes gradually. Like the increasing height of a younger sibling you live with for years: You don't necessarily notice until you suddenly look up one day and realize he's taller than you are. And when it's a skill, you don't just fail to notice improvement; you actively deny it, because every practice is full of "I shouldn't have done that" and "I could have done better."

But then one day it's a year later and you watch yourself moving around downtown New Orleans on your roller skates like you were born that way. And you think, "When did that happen?"

During the afterparty after the Bombshells' July 6 bout, one of my earliest Boulder County Bombers trainers--now retired from the league though still teaching skaters in a different capacity--gave me a fantastic compliment. "You've come so far since last year," she told me. "You weren't looking at your feet at all. Instead, you were all like, 'I know where I want to be and what I want to do, and I'm gonna do it!'" I took that compliment and I hugged it, y'all, it meant that much to me. But it took all my street skating on San Fermin weekend to come to know it as truth.

It gets even better. During the CCDD scrimmage the next day, I barely fell down at all. None of this wiping out while trying to return to the pack after chasing the jammer crap. And even in the second half when I suddenly seemed to be every opposing blocker's favorite target, I didn't so much go down as get pushed around. Temporarily. Which is great, because I wasn't looking forward to catching air over that concrete surface. But it was surprising. This wasn't just "better than last year." This was "better than last week," including the July 6 bout. What gave?

What gave was, I'd spent the whole previous day staying stable on unfriendly terrain. The day before, too. You can't spend some eight hours on skates in a weekend and not be affected by it.

Practice makes permanent, as my old guitar teacher used to say.

So this is where I bring things around to writing. ("When I talk about derby, I'm talking about writing.")

That scrimmage was Sunday the 14th. Monday the 15th I got on my departing train. And Tuesday the 16th, displeased with having done precisely nothing productive during the New Orleans to Chicago leg of the journey, I devised a schedule of writing tasks to do while in transit from Chicago to Denver.

Item 1: 30 minutes of "story idea of the day" freewriting, starting as soon as the sleeper car attendent has finished with the "welcome to the train, here are your amenities" ritual.

Item 2: 60 minutes of short story revision, rewriting the ending of "It's For You" from the bit where Arista's phone starts ringing, starting an hour before my dinner reservaton.

Item 3: 60 minutes of novel planning, starting as soon as the attendent converts the seats in my roomette into a bed.

And then I did those tasks. I did them almost precisely to order and to my planned schedule. I went to sleep Tuesday night feeling quite pleased with myself. I thought, "If only I could keep this kind of work day practice up, it would become a habit. Practice makes permanent, after all."

Unfortunately, I have far more practice making permanent the habit of avoiding the work and fleeing anything to do with writing. So it's an uphill battle. I've gotten very little done between then and now.

But today, knowing my working day would end at 1 PM (Avedan was coming over for lunch and Spiral Knights!), and being kind of disgusted with blog posts like the one I wrote yesterday (whining about not writing, making excuses about not writing, anything at all about not writing), I still managed to do 30 minutes of freewriting, 60 minutes of revision work on "It's For You" (the bit where Arista discovers the mystery phone's location and takes steps to answer it), and 60 minutes of novel planning.

My next working day is Monday, and the work will begin after I get home from the farm. We'll see if I can't get a little practice at making healthy work habits permanent then, too.

The Muse Distracts Me with Goblins in Omaha
Tue 2013-06-11 17:16:14 (single post)
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Yes, I'm easily distractible.

I was going to work on "It's For You" during today's Amtrak1 ride. That poor story has been waiting far too long, and I fully intended to move straight from submitting "The Seeds of Our Future"2 into finishing and submitting something else. That's what a writer does: Writes things, finishes things, submits things for publication, writes and finishes the next thing.

But the train was late. Instead of reaching Omaha, Nebraska in the wee semi-dark hours of them; morning, we got there during daylight, around 8:00 AM when I was diligently doing my Morning Pages in the sightseer lounge. And so I was awake and able to see outside the train when we paused at the station, affording us a fantastic and intriguing view of the backside of the Durham Museum.

That link goes to a Google Maps top-down view, which of course isn't quite the view I was treated to. What I saw was "...a convention center? It looks like a convention center entrance. But who'd enter across the gravel of an empty rail-yard? And why does it appear someone has attached a cattle car to either side of the entrance? Do those tracks actually run right across the threshold--? Yes, there appears to be a short ramp affording passage over the tracks and into the door. Also there is a smoke-stack. What is this building?"

Turns out, it's the Durham Museum. But that does not answer the question of why it has a gorgeous glass-and-steel entryway letting onto the rail-yard, or why there are tracks that close to the outer wall. My best guess is that the tracks actually function, and the aluminum-looking walls that reminded me of a cattle car are in fact garage-style doors which raise to allow a train to back up to the building and unload large exhibits. But still, those doors do not match that vast industrial gravel expanse.

So when I was supposed to be working on a rewrite of "It's For You" I was in fact thinking about how denizens from faerie might arrive upon steam trains appearing from nowhere at some point along the tracks and unload their wares, setting up a goblin market on the gravel. I was wondering how often this might happen, and whether it was according to a predictable schedule or a random one, and how such a market setting up in contemporary Omaha would differ from the one described in Neil Gaiman's Stardust. I was thinking about the inevitable child stolen away by the faeries, or perhaps one who chose to hire on with a market vendor, and why she might choose to do that.

I was contemplating how traditional parental threats of dire fates for misbehaving children would conform to the reality of itinerant faerie salespeople, and whether they might soften in the face of the threat's plausibility. It's safe to say "The boogeyman will get you!" or "I'll feed you to the trolls!" in the clear absence of boogeymen or trolls. But "I'll sell you to the goblins!" becomes a frightening threat in a world where the goblins might show up tomorrow and make your parents an offer. So the threat might soften, be said with a smile and a laugh. The child might respond, "What would you sell me for?" prompting the parents to answer "A far-seeing mirror, the better to keep an eye on you!" or "A magic feather so I could fly over and get you back!"

There are rules about the goblin market. There are ways you conduct yourself among the faeries. And in the stories, someone always breaks the rules or otherwise misbehaves, and they get into plot-causing trouble. But, I thought, surely the protagonist in the story can't have been the first person to break the rules, nor even have done so in the most interesting way. Despite that you should never, never accept a gift from the market, pretty much everyone in Omaha by now probably has a faerie gift on their mantelpiece.

Which means the whole town is in deep, deep debt to faerie.

Perhaps it takes a runaway (or kidnapped) human child every few decades to even the score.

OK, so, this is why I didn't do the work I meant to do. I was too busy noodling towards a draft of a story about a recurring goblin market in Omaha. But I'm not going to be too hard on myself. Much more important than having a particular writing project move is that writing happen at all. I'm trying to make that happen every day.

1 I'm writing this from the Corner Bakery at Chicago Union Station. (The big one outside on the corner by the canal bridge, not the little one inside the food court.) I beg forgiveness of all Chicago-area friends for not alerting you and seeking you out--the train was two and a half hours late, and I find myself with only enough time to catch up on The Internet (all of it!) before running back inside to board the City of New Orleans. (back)

2 The Fearful Symmetries open submission call used the online Moksha Submission System, giving all would-be contributors the option to check their submission's status in the queue. I have refreshed the form every day for the same reason you wander over to see if the pot is boiling yet. And with about as much utility; since May 31 I have moved from about 1048th to 1016th in line. There were a lot of submissions, y'all, and they can only be read so fast. I really should close that tab and forget about it.

On Self-Critiques and Louisiana-Style Fried Chicken
Wed 2012-08-15 22:33:33 (single post)
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Today started rather too early. John had to catch a 10:15 AM flight to Indianapolis (Gen Con!), so we left the house at 7:15 AM. Sometimes the thing I miss most poignantly about Metairie is the 15-minute drive from just about anywhere in town to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport. From Boulder to DIA? On a weekday morning in I-270 commuter traffic? Allow an hour and a half, and hope.

But we made it on time -- early, even, despite bumper-to-bumper on the 270 -- and in proof of this you can see happy tweets from my husband in Indy. Which left me with two goals for the morning:

  1. A writing session involving, at least in part, revising the phone story, and
  2. An 8-piece box of Popeye's spicy fried chicken.

See, just at I-70 and I-270 and Quebec, there's a TravelCenters of America truck stop with an all-purpose diner, no free internet, and a Popeye's. This is the closest I get to a Popeye's on my way anywhere unless I'm actually in the New Orleans area. And there is nothing like grazing on cold Popeye's chicken out the fridge for days after Mom brings home far too much of it for a weekend lunch.

(Sometimes, I get so angry and exasperated at the whole "They be stealin Dan Cathy's freedom of speech, don't look at the millions of dollars going to Exodus Int'l and groups supporting death penalties for gay people in Uganda, you will know us by our Sparkly Moral Outrage!" that the most intelligent response I can come up with is "Boy I'm glad I'm a born-and-raised Popeye's fan. I yam what I yam, yo.")

What I discovered this morning was, the Popeye's at that TA outlet opens at 9 AM. Like, for breakfast.

Still, I delayed gratification and betook myself to the diner counter for coffee, oatmeal, toast, and a thorough self-critique of "It's For You." And when I say "thorough," I mean it. My MS Word copy of that manuscript is filled with inserted comments from tip to toe. Only once done with this, and a couple of other righteous tasks besides, did I venture to exchange money for hot greasy crispy juicy chicken bits.

But like I said: Thorough. Like, every single sentence of that draft evoked second thoughts and despair. Clunky here! Tighten this there! No wonder this reader was confused here and that reader told me not be so coy there! Erase this! Expand on that! Rearrange this paragraph because it is not in a logical, causal order! Arrrrgh.

Somewhere under the bewildered deer-in-headlights wibble of OMG there is so much that needs fixing here where do I START?! I am sure there is a kernel of subconscious working on the answers to that question. Which leaves my conscious brain free today to work on other worthwhile things, like (say) Examiner blog posts about Puzzle Pirates. (OK, that was sarcasm, but I do need to write that post.) Or like all things roller derby. (ALL THE THINGS.) Then maybe I can dredge out some of the answers tomorrow and make improvements happen.

Meanwhile, I'm wondering why an 8-piece box of Popeye's spicy fried chicken didn't last me past nightfall on the day of purchase.

Hangs head in shame. Woe. Contemplates the drive to the airport Sunday night.
It's About Writing This Time
Wed 2012-07-18 15:07:19 (single post)
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As promised, this post is about writing. Actually Writing Blog: Does What It Says On The Tin. And I want you to appreciate this, because I'm on my way back from a fantastic roller derby event that I want to blog about So! Very! Much! But I will defer that pleasure for now, because I said my next post would be about writing. And so it shall be.

But it's not such a sacrifice as all that, because a mere three weeks or so before this I was at a fantastic writing event which I kept meaning to blog about. So now I get to do that.

Back in June, several of us from the Codex online writing group got together and had a writing retreat here in the Denver area. For me, this was a hugely needed thing. Like I've been saying, roller derby has been eating my life all up, bones and all. Stealing a week out of its hungry jaws and feeding those seven days to the poor starved writing beast was a matter of self-defense. It was a great big shove on the pendulum to encourage an eventual swing toward equilibrium.

Can I sorta-but-not-really interrupt myself here (of course you can, Niki; it's your blog) to mention that I now have proof positive that one can be a novelist and skate roller derby all in the same life? It's true! Exhibit A: Pamela Ribon, author of Going in Circles. Premise as I understand it, not having read it yet, is that a recently divorced woman joins a roller derby league to find and reinvent herself. I need to read it. Point is, Ribon is writing from life here. In second "Big Idea" guest post at John Scalzi's Whatever concerning her more recent novel You Take It From Here, she says she received the phone call that kicked off the new novel while she was sitting on the bleachers healing up from a derby injury.

I find Ribon's example immensely reassuring. It means my ongoing attempt to balance derby and writing isn't doomed to failure.

Anyway. Interruption over. Returning now to the writing retreat: A week in a house in remote Centennial. Surrounded by writers. Who are writing.

It wasn't just writing. All work and no play etc. There was also going out to eat (where we mostly talked about writing) and playing games (Dixit and Arkham Horror, both in their own ways appropriate for spec fic writers). But mostly it was writing, in the house or out at coffee shops. And critiquing each other's writing. And enjoying the very great privilege that was an afternoon's chat with local literary agent Sara Megibow. Mega awesome.

(Sorry about that.)

(Well, no, apparently I'm not, as I don't seem to be going back and erasing it.)

(I pun. Deal with it.)

The concrete good that I got out of this week of almost nothing but writing was to finally finish a draft of the current short story in progress. This required, as it turned out, not only the writing retreat environment but also finally getting WordPerfect 5.1 up and running on my computer again for the first time since Dell's customer service techs needlessly reinstalled Windows 7 on this machine. (I told them it was a hardware issue. They didn't believe me. They have a Process. But I told y'all this tale already.) Once I had the story up in WP51, it stopped feeling like a solid wall. I could think my way into the crevices and cracks where editing could take place. It was like magic. I swear, should WP51 ever get taken away from me for good and all, there'll be nothing for it but to customize my replacement word processor with a yellow system font on a blue background.

Anyway, the story is called "It's For You". It involves a phone that rings at odd hours from a mystery location, such that the protagonist is helpless to answer it; and a next-door neighbor with a more assertive outlook on life. Everyone at the retreat who critiqued it proclaimed it "surreal" and I suppose they're right. Anyway, this is now my main project: another rewrite followed by submitting it somewhere before the month is out.

This goal is complicated somewhat by a recent tendency for any random freewriting exercise to turn into a brand new story draft, complete with beginning, middle, and end. Which is... good? I think? One of the effects I was hoping the retreat would have on me? Probably? In any case, I now have enough new stories to keep me busy for the rest of the summer. (As though I didn't have enough older stories waiting for me to please revise and submit them, too.)

This ideas business. It's like, feast or famine all the time. But I guess that's what happens when you shove the pendulum writingward. I guess the real goal now is to take another stab at that "writing like it's my day job" thing. Because it is. Right? Right. Writer by day, Fleur de Beast on eight wheels by night. Then perhaps instead of feast or famine it'll be three well-balanced meals a day. With a modest roller derby dessert.

But I've only just gotten off a train in Denver and unpacked my suitcase in Boulder and done my Wednesday AINC reading shift. Now I gotta go view the video footage from our last home bout tonight with the rest of the Daisy Nukes. Then it's serious fun quality time with John, who misses me. And then there's the rest of the weekend, which involves scrimmage Thursday night, a mix-up bout on Friday, and the rematch home bout against the Shrap Nellies on Saturday.

I guess normality and sober dailiness will have to wait for next week.