“Writing is magic, as much as the water of life as any other creative art. The water is free. So drink.”
Stephen King

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

a seven-finger and afternoon nap kind of day
Wed 2016-01-06 23:17:53 (single post)
  • 1,869 words (if poetry, lines) long

It's cold out there. It's a 7-finger day. By that, I mean that it's so cold that by the time I got where was driving to, seven of my fingertips had turned pale and numb thanks to something called Raynaud's Disease or, colloquially, "being allergic to the cold." Calling it a "disease" makes it sound worse than it is; it's mostly just annoying. Main problem tonight was, with so many fingertips affected, I couldn't start typing comfortably until I'd clutched my Irish coffee long enough to warm up again.

The drive tonight was from roller derby practice to Boulder's legendary late-night burger establishment, the Dark Horse. They serve delicious food, quite decent drinks, and--this was new to me--they now have wi-fi. So I thought I'd get the blogging done while it was still technically Wednesday.

Today didn't go quite as well as yesterday. For one thing, without something like that dentist appointment to get me out of bed early, I wasn't up and moving until about 9:30 AM. I rationalized that this was fine, I was a tired athlete who'd stayed up until 1:00 AM the night before and really needed her sleep. And it still would have been fine if--and this is the second thing--I had managed to get my afternoon shift done, rather than collapsing into an afternoon nap. I guess I needed it; my eyes started burning and squinting, and it began to be actively painful to remain upright.

I am not dismissing the possibility that this was a physical manifestation of avoidance. My next task was short story revision, and I have pathological avoidance issues around short story revision. But it's very likely that last night's roller derby practice was a factor, too. Tonight's as well. Both travel teams' coaches are serious about conditioning, which means lots of cardio and strength training and metabolic workouts and off-skates exercises and endurance til you puke. (Metaphorically. My body doesn't tend to do the puke reaction to extreme exertion. Instead it just decides to stop bothering with other functions, like swallowing and breathing.) And, lest you think being married to the All Stars coach is somehow an advantage--it's not. It just means he tries to get me to do conditioning workouts at home, too.

It's going to take me a few weeks to adjust to this level of activity, is what I'm saying. And there are things I'm going to have to change about the rest of my life--I can't both stay up until 1:00 AM and get up at 7:45 AM every day, for instance. At least I've got a solid scheduling plan for getting the daily writing done, even if some days I don't quite implement it.

Anyway, the result is I'm trying to get my "afternoon shift" done now, between 10 PM and 1 AM after practice. And because I know I have a tendency to just say "eff it, I'm going to bed" after roller derby practice, I took myself out where bed wouldn't be a temptation. Hence the trip to the Dark Horse. Besides, it was a convenient way to make sure I got some protein down me. Kind of important after the kind of workout I've had.

I don't know I'll get my full five hours in today, but I will get SOME work on the short story in after I post this. If all I do is reread it (for the first time in two weeks) and decide what the next concrete task is, that'll let me close down the day with a sense of accomplishment.

Luchresi cannot tell Amontillado from Sherry, and neither can I.
vroomtime is go
Tue 2016-01-05 23:56:08 (single post)
  • 1,869 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,046 words (if poetry, lines) long

OK! So. First off, I've finally posted the Friday Fictionette for January 1. It's called "The Wine Cellar That Wished" and it's sort of kind of an Edgar Allan Poe fanfic don't judge me. It's also sort of humor and sort of kind of horror. Hey, I believe in truth in advertising.

Secondly: Today really was a proper Tuesday. Yesterday was a Monday during which nothing much got done and the dirty dishes were really compelling, but today I got to work. Woke up in time to do Morning Pages before the dentist appointment (which went well, thank you). Got home in time to have breakfast and start my morning shift at 10:00 AM. Took care of some necessary household administration tasks during my lunch break. Started my afternoon shift around 2:00 PM. Left for roller derby practice around 5:15 PM with the satisfaction of knowing I had logged five hours and had left no writing task undone other than this blog post right here, which I am writing now.

Basically, I got my butt into gear and I worked like a writer who writes for a living. Then I survived my first A team practice of the 2016 season. Writing and roller derby. That's pretty much how my days go. How they're supposed to go, anyway.

I'm looking forward to tomorrow going about the same. Only instead of the dentist I've got volunteer reading, instead of A team practice I have B team practice, and instead of spending the majority of my work day on fictionette catch-up I'll spend the majority of my afternoon shift revising "Down Wind." It's almost ready to submit, y'all! And still ten days until the submission deadline!

So this week is off to a fantastic start, is all I really have to say.

(I'd say "this year," but I don't want to jinx it.)

delays continue
Mon 2016-01-04 23:01:01 (single post)

Welp. I got nothing. But I saw the new Star Wars film! It was a proper Star Wars film.

And tomorrow will be a proper Tuesday. It will start with a visit to the dentist, but it will be proper Tuesday for all that. See you then.

kicking off the new year with a fizzle
Fri 2016-01-01 23:43:39 (single post)
  • 1,869 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 4,558 words (if poetry, lines) long

A thousand apologies, but all things fictionette will be late again. Nothing bad happened; I just got to work on things too late, and now it's nearly midnight. Expect fulfillment this weekend or, at the latest, Monday.

Probably I should have just excused myself from both this one and last one, seeing as how they're both on holidays. And of course I've been on vacation. I only just got back late last night. (It was a very nice homecoming. John brought me home from the airport and then immediately began pressing me to stuff my face with his homemade bread, and homemade chocolate chip cookies, and homemade spaghetti sauce. Best homecoming ever.) One of these days I really must stop overestimating the amount of work I can get done while on vacation, or at a roller derby tournament, or at a convention. One of these days.

Vacation is over, though, and it's back to everyday things, chief among them writing and roller derby. ("What have you been up to lately?" "Oh, writing. Roller derby. Video games. And more writing. And more roller derby." This is my life.)

On the skating front, three of us were at the practice space in below-freezing weather just because we love being on wheels. John, in his derby persona of Head Coach Papa Whiskey, gave us some agility drills to try and helped us improve our hockey stops. Then we're all having a party tomorrow night to celebrate the end of one season and the beginning of another. Then we have our last off-season Sunday morning practice. Team practices begin this week, and I'll be going to all the All Stars and Bombshells practices that I can manage, because the results of the latest travel team try-outs is that I'm an A/B crossover again. Woot!

On the writing front, my immediate goal is getting "Down Wind" ready for submission. The response to my submission of "Caroline's Wake" to that market was, indeed, a rejection, but such a complimentary one! Such lovely things they had to say! I sent it along to somewhere else, a prestigious market that's always been a long shot--but if any story of mine was worth a long-shot chance, this one's it. Anyway, that means I'm free to send something new to the market that rejected it. But I've only got until January 15, so I'll have to get to work right away.

(I did not work on any short fiction other than fictionettes in New Orleans. Vacation!)

I am also having thoughts of rereading, and reworking, Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, because it's been a few years since I've done that. I think it might be time to do it again. But about that, more later.

Oh, hey--happy new year!

notes toward next visit
Wed 2015-12-30 22:33:35 (single post)

Today's report from My Christmas Vacation will be brief and numerical.

1. The Crab Cake Pontchartrain is delicious. It is even more delicious enjoyed in exceedingly good company.

2. I should visit downtown Covington more often. (Afternoon tea!)

3. Also Abita Springs. (Birthplace of Abita Beer!)

5. Driving alone across the Causeway Bridge is a wonderful opportunity for audiobooks.

4. I should also visit my Aunt June more often.

5. Aunt June may well be the Boulder County Bombers' newest superfan.

outdoor activity, the automotive edition
Tue 2015-12-29 23:19:15 (single post)

Today, the last day of fine weather I'll enjoy during my visit home, I succeeding in getting outside via driving across the lake and back. Since that's a 24-mile one-way trip just from shore to shore, nevermind the remainder of the journey to my relatives' house, I think this counts as significant time outdoors.

There was very little wind and very little traffic, and the bird-watching from the bridge was fantastic. Pelicans soared close over the bridge and right along the rail, probably taking advantage of the updraft off the warm cement and hot car engines. Mallards and cormorants stuck closer to the water's surface, flying low or just resting in duck-at-aquatic-repose position.

Every one of them Mom spotted, she said, "Look, there's another one, isn't that wonderful." I'm afraid she's lost the distinction between pelican and seagull and duck these days; they're all just "birds" to her now. She still remembers the rhyme about the queer old bird that's the pelican, and her own version of the rhyme that celebrates New Orleans's basketball team, but she no longer can pick out a pelican from a lineup.

The whole way across the bridge, too, she reads the tenth-mile markers aloud. 14.8, 14.9, 15. Exercising her grasp of numbers. Practicing, maybe, or maybe just reassuring herself that she can still do numbers even if she can't entirely do words or faces anymore.

We were visiting my cousin and her family. Turns out her 18-month-old son was fighting off a cold and not up for all-day adventures in New Orleans. We wound up just visiting at the house and ordering lunch from the Covington location of New Orleans Food & Spirits. I had the grilled stuffed catfish, which was delicious and so very filling that instead of going for one last skate along Linear Park when I got home, I put myself to bed for a nap with a couple of new-to-me Bunnicula books.

Now I'm doing my daily writing tasks--the ones I'm actually holding myself to, being on vacation and all--from one of my parents' comfy armchairs, having watched LSU handily win their bowl game against Texas Tech. I don't usually watch college football, but it's bowl game after bowl game during the holiday season, the best of the best playing on TV nearly constantly every day, so I might as well watch my Dad's alma mater show off their current roster's stuff. And their stuff was seriously amazing, I gotta say. Some of those catches were unbelievable.

Tomorrow sees some more visiting on both sides of the lake, and maybe a trip to the post office to get some fruitcake in the mail. The tradition continues!

This fictionette's cover art is brought to you by NASA! And also some clip-art from Wikimedia Commons.
this fictionette is going to town
Tue 2015-12-29 00:05:34 (single post)
  • 1,101 words (if poetry, lines) long

Again, apologies for the belated Christmas Fictionette. Well, it's not really anything to do with Christmas. It's set more in the fall, I think, round about harvest time, though I've just realized there's a tiny, insignificant, yet unsightly plot hole concerning this detail. There is an impending birth, and I suppose it's technically a virgin birth, but that's just a coincidence of species. In any case, no midwinter festivals were harmed in the making of this fictionette, which is called "Premature Labor."

This brings my first full year of Friday Fictionettes to a close. New Year's Day will be the first Friday in 2016, and I intend to begin another full year of 'em at that time. (That fictionette probably won't have anything intentional to do with its holiday, either.) It's not that I find the sheer number of Patrons a compelling case for continuing the Patreon campaign. But I do continue to find value in the weekly routine. It's good for my work ethic. It's good exercise for my writing muscles. And it's just plain good fun. So! Roll on 2016, with another 52 fictionettes in store.

The visit home continues at a leisurely, unpressured pace. I thought I might head into the city over the weekend, but in fact I never quite crossed the parish line until today, when I took my freewriting and my fictionette work over to Rue de la Course. This was followed by lunch at Pho Bistreaux (shrimp spring rolls and Vinh's special) and a little window-shopping up and down Oak Street.

That doesn't mean I didn't get out of the house all weekend. Did some biking Saturday (and had the Pasta Carmella at Bistro Orleans). Skated over to Bucktown on Sunday (and wound up watching part of that very enjoyable Saints game at Melius Bar over a couple of Abitas and a chili cheese hot-dog).

Tomorrow all depends. If my cousin and her family wind up doing fun things in town, I may wind up tagging along. If not, I'll probably end up combining the skating thing with the writing at a public establishment thing, as it's the last day of my trip that's forecast to be at all dry and sunny, or at least dry and overcast. In any case, it would be a shame to waste it indoors.

YPP Weekend Blockades, Dec 26: there is no blockade, only yeti
Sat 2015-12-26 11:56:27 (single post)

Guess what? There are no PVP blockades this weekend--or the next. It's the regularly scheduled holiday closure, and Oceanmaster Demeter has confirmed that the blockade closure dates they penciled in some time earlier are for reals.

That doesn't mean there's nothing going on at all; a couple of event blockades are scheduled for tomorrow, one each on Emerald and Meridian. If that's your thing, you'll want to be right on time, because they're both just one round long.

Meanwhile, the Yetis are out in force this holiday season, with an increased incidence of expeditions available to have your portrait painted with these reclusive beasties. Alas, if you have the curse of the pengmonk upon you, you'll have to turn of seasonal effects in your Options: General panel before you can pose for a picture. I guess no one coded in any portrait artwork for swashbuckling penguins.

Standard reminders: Schedule is given in Pirate Time, or U.S. Pacific. Player flags link to Yoweb information pages; Brigand King Flags link to Yppedia Brigand King pages. BK amassed power given in parenthetical numbers, like so: (14). For more info about jobbing contacts, jobber pay, and Event Blockade battle board configuration, check the Blockade tab of your ocean's Notice Board. To get hired, apply under the Voyages tab.

Doubloon Ocean Blockades

*** Sunday, December 27 ***

12:00 p.m. - Dendrite Island, Meridian Ocean
Event: 1 round, nonsinking
Hosted by: Radioactive

3:00 p.m. - Blackthorpe Island, Emerald Ocean
Event: 1 round, nonsinking
Hosted by: Order of the Jolly Roger

service to resume on the morrow
Fri 2015-12-25 23:25:45 (single post)

I have had a mixed-blessing sort of day. Well, I've had a mixed-blessing sort of visit thus far, though I don't do a lot of the complaining here that I do in more private spaces because, well, family is family. But today being Christmas, everything got turned up to eleven. As a result I've been kind of nonfunctional since returning home this afternoon.

Which is why the Friday Fictionette will be a weekend thing again, which is why I am bothering telling you so.

I did go for a brief outdoor skate at dusk between the Bonnabel Canal and the Suburban Canal. That was nice. Skates make everything better. They don't fix everything, but while they're on my feet, they make the things they can't fix feel much more distant.

I'm having a little bowl of yesterday's kimchi with a boiled egg. Comfort food is comforting. I'm not sure when kimchi became one of my comfort foods--goodness knows I didn't grow up eating it. But it indubitably has. How I know is, when I opened the container, the smell of it reached down into my chest and kind of loosened things up a little and made me smile.

Good night, everyone. See you tomorrow.

Dad shows us how it's done.
oysters and kimchi on christmas eve
Thu 2015-12-24 23:07:37 (single post)

We shucked the rest of the oysters today. Dad estimates there were 80 pounds of them, total. He borrowed this device that was basically a steel tooth on a hinge with a lot of leverage, with which he popped the oysters open. Then all we had to do was scrape 'em out with oyster knives and put 'em in a container in the fridge.

Well, all except the ones we ate during the process. Privilege of doing the shucking.

At some point during the oyster-shucking session, I remembered that Maangchi's kimchi recipe calls for oysters, and wouldn't it be cool to make kimchi with fresh-shucked oysters instead of frozen? And, hey, there's a Korean grocery store just a few blocks away from the friend who loaned us the oyster-popping device, which we gotta bring back to him anyway. Might as well stop in. And they had everything I needed, up to and including the Korean radish and Asian chives.

("Those don't look like chives," Dad said. "Totally different allium," I admitted, "but it is an allium. Unless I screwed up and bought lemongrass." We both tasted some. It was not lemongrass.)

So now my hands smell like garlic and hot peppers, and fresh kimchi is fermenting in big rectangular bins over by the laundry room. At some point I will have to figure out what to do with it all, because I'm unlikely to be able to eat or give away all of it by New Year's Eve. I suppose maybe package it in dry ice in the fruitcake bin to get it home in checked luggage? And put what's left of the fruitcake in something much smaller? But I don't have to worry about that for a week.

And now I'm rewarding myself with a trip to Hurricane's to hang out with my brother and listen to live music and drink Abita and give my computer a wifi connection it hasn't had a spat with. Seriously.

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