“I can fix a bad page. I can't fix a blank one.”
Nora Roberts

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

back in the saddle or maybe in the trucks
Thu 2015-03-12 23:51:41 (single post)

Hark! A blog post! What's it about? Er... probably not writing, I'm afraid.

Well, for one thing, you don't want to hear me complain about how despite Conlorado's being over I can't seem to string two hours together for any one thing. Other things keep intervening. I'm hoping next week will look better than this one, honestly.

For another thing, the really exciting thing happening this week isn't to do with writing. My life is large, it contains multitudes of things one might do with a life, and as it turns out the really exciting thing was putting my skates back on for the first time in eight weeks.

Yeah. Got cleared to skate at my physical therapy appointment today.

As always, the therapist asked how I was feeling and how my knee was feeling. "Extremely well!" I burbled. The quad pain that scared me so much last week was gone the next day, and the cripplingly stiff calf muscles loosened up until I could do full-stride lunges without pain again. I attribute this to the foam rolling iterations. They hurt but they work. They're like... well. Have you read Laini Taylor's Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy? Magic in those books can work utter miracles, but working it requires the mage to suffer self-inflicted pain. That's the cost of magic in that world. Foam rolling is like a limited-scope miracle of that sort of magic.

So he had me do the usual warm-ups, and then the usual balancing acts, and then a lot of jumping. This is a situation where "He said 'jump,' I said 'how high?'" is the literal truth. How high? How long? How many times? I jumped on two legs and I hopped on one. I hopped in place, and forward, and in a zig-zagging sideways progression. I jumped from side to side, which felt like I was back at derby doing my Inside/Outside drills. Finally, I chugged a glass of water and he said, "I'm comfortable with you skating." And I, of course, said "Yippee!"

So I accompanied John to scrimmage tonight. That had been my plan already; I wanted to make myself available as an extra non-skating official, like last week. But I augmented the plan by bringing my skates and skating laps during warm-ups and half-time.

It felt great.

Oh, sure, my left leg was noticeably quicker to tire than my right. But all my moves were there, and they didn't hurt. I skated forward and backward, clockwise and widdershins, crossovers and sculling. I performed tomahawk stops and hockey stops. I got up and down on my kneepads helping one of the refs re-tape parts of the track. And I got to know the slightly wobbly character of the barn floor. Skating! I still know how to do it!

So I'll be attending a couple of Phase 1 practices to make sure I'm good to go, then I'll do Phase 2 until the coaches have time to assess me for minimum skills and team placement. And then everything will be back to normal. Derby will go back to eating my life right up, bones and all. And soon we'll move house, and I won't have to carry my skate bag up 24 steps after practice.

Now I'll post this, and I'll go do my magic foam roller ritual, and I'll probably say some very unprintable things while I do. My left IT band is already grumbling at me after all the unexpected work, so I expect tonight's foam roller session will be particularly eventful.

The pretend business card features public domain images by openclipart.com and the phone is a 15-year-old radio shack model.
this fictionette needs a check-up and also some quiet time
Fri 2015-03-06 23:42:09 (single post)
  • 1,191 words (if poetry, lines) long

Please welcome the latest Friday Fictionette to the family, "Please To Confirm Your Appointment With BRIGHT SMILES!," an excerpt of which you may read here. It was a lot of fun to write. I should warn you, though, it ends on a cliff-hanger. I have several ideas for what happens next, any of which could supply the material for a full-length short story. Deciding between them, now, that's the trick.

Conlorado weekend continues; the whole gang's in town now and they're over at a friend's house playing games. I'm at home because after trips to the airport and the liquor store I was kind of tired, and I'm also rather enjoying the empty house. For a little while, the whole gang was over here in our tiny living room/dining room area, and I was hiding in the bedroom with a book. I like to hear a house full of happy people, but I get overwhelmed by the bustle and crowd very easily. Most of the afternoon they were playing a game of Paperback, which looks like a lot of fun--it even has a writer theme to it!--but I couldn't see my way to squeezing into the group who were already sitting shoulder-to-shoulder around the table. So I just listened in and enjoyed things vicariously.

Yes, in fact, I proudly and cheerfully accept the label "introvert." I suggest printing it in bold-face capitals, possibly ones constructed from bright flashing neon tubes. But not where I can see them, because argh, blinking lights.

We had some delightful surprises at the liquor store. Hazel's is a great place for delightful surprises, because they have everything. They had Abita's Grapefruit Harvest IPA, which I didn't know ever made it out of Louisiana. It's one of the few IPAs I will willingly drink. They also had in their soft drink section four different handmade flavors from the Rocky Mountain Soda Company. We brought home the "Evergreen Elderberry" and the "Breckenridge Blackberry."

"We brought you local sodas!" John crowed to our friend who'd asked for interesting caffeine-free soft drinks. "It's the Boulder Way!"

And now I had better hurry up and do my PT before I go to bed--

About that. Alas, the therapist did not clear me to skate yesterday. I came in complaining of cripplingly tight calf-muscles and stabbing pains in the quads of the affected leg. ("I have this terrible pain in the diodes down my left side...") He determined these were normal reactions from the muscles surrounding an injured ligament as regular work is once more required from them and they're grumpy about it. So I have another week of strengthening things up, plus daily foam roller sessions on quads, calves, and IT bands to work the kinks out.

Thus, Foam Roller Hell, here I come!

also, ex-MFA dude is a poopy head
Thu 2015-03-05 23:24:48 (single post)

This will be a very quick post, because today has been a very long day. It was a day involving both physical therapy and roller derby (albeit in a non-skating capacity for me; I was a penalty timer), which means by the time I got home for the night I was ready to collapse. Additionally, there were elements of The House-Buying Saga (though they were admittedly quickly dispatched) and highly energetic social times involving people arriving from out of town for the annual gathering we call Conlorado.

(Short story: One year, John came home from Gen Con disappointed that he and his friends just didn't get to play enough games together. So he invited everyone to come visit and play games in the context of a private weekend-long con of their own. Thus Conlorado was born. This is its third iteration.)

It's the sort of day where everything will get done, but some will get done very briefly and on the way to sleep.

So this will be a very quick post wherein I recommend another post: Kameron Hurley's post on Tor.com, "I Love Writing Books, So I Need To Get Better At Writing Them."

Despite having been written three months earlier, it's crossed my radar at a time when my various online circles of writerly friends and acquaintances are talking about what might be charitably described as an ego-piece by an ex-teacher who, if this is how he felt about teaching, would have been happier and would have done less damage had he quit teaching sooner. I've had it recommended to me by readers who admired it for its much-needed candor, which strikes me as a noun related to the adjectival phrase "proudly politically incorrect." I've also seen it skewered by the likes of the inimitable Chuck Wendig and the very wise Foz Meadows, who quite rightly have no time or patience for his bullshit.

Basically, the ex-teacher has a few smart things to say about how talking about writing isn't writing, and how you need to actually write to make it as a writer, and how that involves hard work and the willingness to take criticism and forge that into better writting.

And then he wraps those unarguable truths in a lot of poison for which there is no excuse.

And then his admirers say that you have to excuse him the poison, because he's just jaded and tired and has had to deal with obnoxious self-entitled grad students, and besides, you're ignoring his real point.

(And I think, wouldn't it be nice if female writers who wrapped some hard, inarguable truths in a coating of righteous wrath were supported for the sake of their good points, their abrasiveness understood in the context of how much crap they'd had to put up with? Instead of being condemned and dismissed for their anger, their harsh "tone," their profanity, if only they'd be more polite maybe they'd succeed at winning allies--)

(But I digress.)

I say, we are blessed in this world with so many great writers that the very finite nature of our time upon this earth obliges us to pick and choose among them. Everyone has their own criteria for this choice. Me, I tend to choose those who can express hard, inarguable truths without wrapping them in dog turds and arsenic.

Here, therefore, is Hurley writing about the ways in which a writer at any level, at any age works hard to improve her craft. Her article has in common with the other article the hard, inarguable truths that you must work hard, you must continue to work hard, your work will never be done. But it makes no toxic pretense of prophesying. There are no attempts in Hurley's piece to distinguish between the writers with talent versus the writers who'll never make it, nor to tell the later to give up and stop trying.

Much the opposite.

The ex-MFA dude says, if you don't have talent you'll never make it. If you didn't take the art seriously before you were legal to drink, you'll never make it. If you are currently having a hard time making time to write, if you spend more time talking about writing than you do actually writing, if you're not in fact good at writing yet, if you--

Hurley says, "So what? You're not dead yet."

If you're still alive, you've still got time: to break bad habits, to figure out your schedule, to shift your priorities, to improve your fluency, to deepen your craft, to stop talking and start writing, to make it as a writer, to decide for yourself what "making it" means, to decide that "making it" is a mirage and a chimera and that you are content to keep working at this writing thing "until the last breath leaves your body."

So no one--no writer, no teacher, no Nobel laureate--has any business telling you "you'll never make it as a writer." And why the crap should they want to? Seems a little busy-body of them. Seems like something that doesn't do themselves any good, and has the potential to do others a measure of harm. Seems like a writer should be more concerned with their own writing than with whether other writers are Doing Writing Right.

So... that went a little longer than I meant to go. But then I've been sitting on some of these thoughts all week and they just sort of exploded when I read Hurley's piece and felt this grateful wave of Yes! You get it! in response. That tends to make me wordy.

Anyway. Tomorrow there will be a new Fictionette and also progress on the story-in-revision. See you then.

here be dragons and doooooom (needs citation)
Wed 2015-03-04 23:18:52 (single post)
  • 5,489 words (if poetry, lines) long

Hey! I made some progress on my story today! It went something like this:

I only managed one micro-session around 6 PM rather than several throughout the day, because avoidance monsters. Of course. Avoidance took the familiar form of bog-standard procrastination. "Oh, just fifteen more minutes... just read one more blog post while I eat my dinner... just use up my turns at Two Dots and then I'll get to it for sure..." It took the equally familiar form of creeping fear and dread, the usual hazy certainty that the story was awful and impossible to fix, all of which would certainly be confirmed the moment I opened the Scrivener file, so why ever open it at all?

Avoidance also took the novel form of dutiful logic. Like, I'd love to do a micro-session before my volunteer reading, but unfortunately the recording has to be uploaded by 2:45 PM, and besides I should take advantage of the time I'm alone in the house and won't have to close the door to the office to do the reading. So clearly it makes more sense to do the reading first. And, oh, I should do a second session after freewriting, but I still have to do my physical therapy, and the weight room closes at ten. And... you know, I'm running out of evening, so if I want to get my other daily writing tasks done, I'd better do them. I can always do another session on the story after I get everything else done, right?

However. I did spend about half an hour on the story. During that half hour, I got a pretty good idea of how the micro-scene I'm working on is going to go. I figured out how it's going to incorporate elements from the scene deleted from the previous draft. And I got most of it written down.

And I left the scene in a loose-ends state to entice me to come back to it tomorrow.

Here's the thing. As long as the avoidance monsters can keep me from looking at the project, they can keep me from challenging the narrative they're pushing on me. It remains a vaguely terrifying, looming thing. It's too scary to even think about. But if I can cut through the fog enough to think about it clearly, I come up with things to say to the avoidance monsters. Things like...

"Hey, even if you're right, what's the worst that can happen if I open up that file?"

"How about we open up that file just so I can see what you're talking about?"

"You know what? I don't believe you. Prove it! ...by opening up that file and showing me how awful you think it is!"

So there's that. There's also this: Wanting to write and not writing is painful. What I finally told myself was, Hey, I have the power to make the hurting stop. All I have to do is open up the story file and get to work.

So I did. And again, it sounds kind of pathetic and neurotic. It's embarrassing, is what it is. But it got me there.

Here's the thing about getting there: Now that I have indeed opened the file and worked on it, the story isn't so much a big looming, terrifying thing as it is a puzzle. It is a puzzle I have begun trying to solve. And once I start trying to solve it, I don't want to give up. I'm eager to get back to it.

So tomorrow I'll get back to it. That simple.

...I hope you have enjoyed this tour of my warped little brain. Aren't you glad you don't live in it?

we all have our hot cross buns to feed to bears
Tue 2015-03-03 23:43:28 (single post)
  • 5,389 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,440 words (if poetry, lines) long

Hooray! The "Fictionette Freebie" for the month of February is out and free and clear and all yours. I chose "If On A Winter's Night Two Travellers..." because, looking back at the last four months of Freebies, I thought we needed something a little more uncomplicatedly light-hearted. Granted, being stuck in a broken-down car in a snow storm outside of the range of any cell phone signal isn't exactly a pleasant situation, but then neither is getting kidnapped by vampires, and no one ever accused Robin McKinley's Sunshine of heavy-duty grimdark.

In fact, now that I've got occasion to review it, I think the narrator of "Travellers..." does sound more than a little influenced by the narrator of Sunshine. I may have been rereading that novel during the second week of February, around the time I would have been polishing this one up for publication.

So now I am all caught up on February, as far as Friday Fictionettes go.

How am I doing on the story?

...I've been avoiding it today. Which is embarrassing. I've been very diligent in everything else. I did all my physical therapy for today, despite maybe having pulled a muscle in my left calf during the lunges (please dear Gods no whyyyyy). I finished them as very small lunges, but I finished them. I had a great time with my freewriting, during which a word-of-the-day prompt got me thinking of the will-o-the-wisp at the beginning of The Neverending Story who's gotten lost despite usually being the agent of other people's getting lost. What does a will-o-the-wisp follow when it is lost? And I put up a Puzzle Pirates Examiner post. And I worked on Fictionettes, as above. And I even cleaned out the file cabinet just a bit more, and caught up on email and other online communications.

But the short story? Heavens help us.

*facepalms forever*

OK. So. Plan for tomorrow: Don't save the short story until last, because I might never get to it that way. Don't invest the task with the forbidding weight of "an hour and a half of butt in chair" or "get to work and don't stop until you've finished the scene," because I might never manage to start. Instead, try small sessions throughout the day, each one with the goal of "just open it up and do whatever you can in 25 minutes." Just keep coming back to it, the way I kept coming back to the closet doors project when that was still going on: a session here and a session there, between other tasks of the day.

I need to jump start a mental habit of coming back to the task regularly. I've been so irregular about it lately that every session has required the routine of two days spent sneaking up on it and dodging the avoidance monsters. I need to put it back in the brain space where it's just a thing that I do when it's time to do it. Ideally, I'd return to the task every day without fuss. Maybe by sitting down to multiple micro-sessions throughout a single day, I can pack many days' worth of mental habit formation into that single day. And the day after that.

It's better than dodging avoidance monsters for weeks, anyway.

Yes, I do sound like a pathological bundle of neuroses, don't I? We all have our crosses to bear. And possibly hot cross buns to bake, which sounds a lot less melodramatic than bearing crosses, and also tastier. I mean, on the one hand, you have a method of torture and execution; on the other, you have yummy sweet rolls. When they offer you cake or death, choose cake. That's the point I'm getting around to here. Writing should be more like cake than like death.

Original photo: 'A long and narrow bridge' by Miika Silfverberg (CC BY-SA 2.0)
fake it til you can at least make it roll it down the hill
Mon 2015-03-02 23:54:33 (single post)
  • 1,472 words (if poetry, lines) long

OK, this is as late as I ever want to get with a Friday Fictionette. Just posted the one for February 27 a moment ago--"A Bridge Just Far Enough"--and have plans to release the February Fictionette Freebie tomorrow morning. I honestly can't decide which one of the four to release. I'll stand a better chance making up my mind in the morning.

The edition for Week One of March will not be late. It's fluffy and fun and I've already gotten halfway through cleaning it up and rounding it off. Also, it will not be interfered with by the week from House Buying/Selling Hell.

I shouldn't complain. That week from Hell ended very nicely--with us accepting an offer for our condo unit that's significantly above list price and almost 150% what we paid for it in 2000, from a buyer who isn't much fussed about things like inspections and appraisals. They're like, "Whatever, it looks nice, shut up and gimme," and we're like, "Awesome, yes please, thank you" and the seller of the place we're trying to move into is no doubt, "Yay, contingency met, I can get out of here." I mean, I haven't talked to any of them personally, but that's probably the gist of it.

But it did take us through the week and into the weekend to slow down to a reasonable pace, where we weren't constantly cleaning the house, getting out of the house, inspecting the new house, and talking about the house on the phone. The timeline from here on out is much more relaxed, and hopefully will be until that frenetic period of time between April 7 and April 12 when we will scramble to move all our stuff from Place 1 to Place 2.

Which means this week I actually get to complete the story revision. I am phrasing it that way in order to jump start my looking-forward-to-things engine. Because what I'm actually feeling is, "Er. No more excuses. That means I have to do it this week. OR ELSE I'M A TOTAL FAILURE." That is not a healthy way to think about one's vocation. So I'm telling myself "Yay! I get to play with my story!" and I'm saying it a lot and I'm smiling. Which is that thing we call fake it 'til you make it.

Roll on, the week of faking it effectively!

wait let my check my notes
Wed 2015-02-25 20:18:40 (single post)
  • 5,389 words (if poetry, lines) long

Last week I declared this week to be the week of Finishing The Short Story Rewrite, Dammit. Let's see how that's going, shall we?

Monday we spent frantically cleaning the house and putting things in storage, because...

Tuesday was the day the realtor took pictures of our home so it could be listed. There was a lot of frantic cleaning that morning before the photo appointment. But that didn't mean our job was over. We also had to review and sign a bunch of documents, and do some more cleaning and tidying, which continued into...

Wednesday (today). We pretty much have to do everything we didn't get done in time for photos. This includes a not insignificant amount of grout-cleaning and re-caulking. Also a bunch of errand-running with the intent to Get Stuff Out Of the House. Stuff went to storage, stuff to do with stain/varnish/paint-thinner/mineral spirits went to the Hazardous waste facility, stuff to be donated went into the mail, and our old single-band wi-fi gateway got returned to Comcast because it had been replaced by a dual-band wif-fi gateway. (The Comcast stop was actually the simplest of the bunch.)

By the way, you know why today's mini-snowpocalypse hit at precisely the time it did? That was precisely 5 minutes after I headed out on those errands in a T-shirt and jeans. No jacket, no scarf, no hat. Because today I "checked the weather" by looking out the window and saying, "Eh, looks decent enough," rather than actually checking the weather forecast. And the sky demons have a wicked sense of humor.

Today has also involved a lot of time on the phone with our mortgage lender, where she explained things to us very slowly and in words of one syllable because that's what it takes to get some of this scary loan stuff through our heads. We don't know the jargon, we don't know the theory, we just want the experts to hold our hands and make it all happen and just tell us what to do so it gets done right.

Anyway, the reason for continuing the frantic clean-up and errands-running is to get the place ready for...

Thursday when there will be something like eight or ten potential buyers walking through and examining the place. The earliest showing will be at 8:00 and the latest will end at 5:45. Pretty much we have to get out of Dodge for the day. Not that we can just settle down and do our work somewhere; we're spending the morning at the place we're under a contingency contract to buy, getting the visual inspection done.

By the way, that's the one-story, ground floor unit about a half mile to the north of us that's 250 square feet larger than our current home. The two-story one with the postage-stamp backyard (really a front patio) really did feel significantly smaller than our current one, and we didn't like the condition the bedrooms were in. Nor were we excited about the South Boulder neighborhood, once we got down there. It didn't really feel close to anything or anyone we wanted to be close to. So we went back to Plan A, which was to enter a contingency agreement to buy the place I enthused about previously.

And assuming that all goes well,

Friday we will be getting together with the realtor to review any offers made. (One has already been made. Sight unseen, pending tomorrow's walk-through. At a few thousand above the listing price. Wow.) And with any luck by the end of Friday we'll have accepted an offer, and all the quantum waveforms will collapse into certainty, and we can relax.

Which makes this week the week of Selling The House and Buying A New One, For Reals.

Maybe next week can be the week of Finishing the Short Story Rewrite, Dammit.

Anyway. Back to the grout-cleaning with me...

Oh, look, an original photo for once!
All done. No more to do. Finished. Complete. FINALLY.
better late than ooh hey look shiny
Mon 2015-02-23 23:37:27 (single post)
  • 1,379 words (if poetry, lines) long

Well. It wasn't up Saturday, and it wasn't up Sunday. But it's up now: "Ink That Casts a Shadow," the Friday Fictionette for (nominally) February 20. It's totally pretentious and meta and a story whose protagonist is an author that's totally not me, totally, promise. I sure can sell these things, can't I?

In other news of lateness, we'd put off taking the listing photos until tomorrow, because we weren't sure we'd get that lovely low winter sunlight brightening up the place today. Turns out we would have, but we desperately needed the extra day to clean the house. John deserves all the kudos; he's been doggedly cleaning the bathroom walls, floor, baseboard, tile grout, and more. The place gleams. I cleaned and tidied in the office and the bedroom, streamlining them down to a sort of "minimalist cozy" aesthetic. I cleaned the mantlepiece and the hearth, then laid a new fire in the grate.

I removed almost everything from the refrigerator door. "Nothing says you're about to move out," said John, "like cleaning off the fridge." Years of greeting cards, drawings, newsletters, business cards, and magnets came down and were categorized into things to keep, things to give away, and things to dispose of.

And tomorrow morning there's still the windows to clean, everything to vacuum, a trip or two to storage, under-bed bins to buy, all before one o' clock. Panic!

Did I mention the closet doors are done? The closet doors are done. All done. All four of them: Done, done, done, done.

[We pause while the author goes hop-skippity-boing like Daffy Duck on that gold hoard.]

And then after all that, it'll be a normal working Tuesday--the first workday of a week for which I have very high expectations. No pressure or anything. I suspect, knowing me, that I will collapse for a bit between the photos and the writing, and thus end up writing quite late. Which is fine. But it's best not to be surprised by these things.

various lights sighted at the end of various tunnels
Fri 2015-02-20 23:16:59 (single post)
  • 5,389 words (if poetry, lines) long

Alas, this week's Friday Fictionette will arrive on Saturday. Today has just been one of those days, full of unforeseen things hijacking my plans. And now it is almost eleven o' clock, and the idea of doing a rush job on the PDF is simply painful.

Also, my brain just coughed up the best possibility for an ending, such as these things have endings. I want to let it percolate overnight to see what kind of prose it turns into.


  • A bit of hopping has been added to my physical therapy routine--you know the one where they have you lunge, but your back foot is on a raised block, and then you hop on your forward foot? Right. My next appointment is on March 5, at which point I will very possibly, hopefully, if all goes well, be cleared to skate. Setting my sights on a Phase One practice that Saturday!
  • The potential buyer from Thursday won't, but that was only the first showing, so, oh well and onward. Tomorrow we head to a south Boulder condo unit that's smaller but has a two-story layout separating bedrooms upstairs from common areas downstairs, no one living above or below, and a backyard. A postage stamp of a backyard, I'm sure, but still. The property we looked at Wednesday remains an option, too. There are so many options. Wheels continue turning and I am seriously visualizing myself Not At This Address Anymore.
  • The very last closet door panel is fully stained and will get finished with three coats of polycrylic per side over the weekend. I am so glad to be finally done with this project. Then there will be a flurry of house cleaning and moving things to storage so that the realtor can take pictures on Mondays for listing the place.
  • And next week will be the week of Finishing The Short Story Rewrite, Dammit. Yes, small goals, I know, but--this is ridiculous. I'm tired of it not being done. So, small goals, yes, but one small goal every few hours rather than every few days, yes?

February. The month of Getting Things Done Finally Dammit.

the wheels keep on turning and turning and turning and
Wed 2015-02-18 23:01:57 (single post)
  • 5,389 words (if poetry, lines) long

My blogging has been sparse these past two weeks, but my days have been rather full. As you know (Bob), I've been in the middle of several "sagas" for some time now. How much time? Oh, several weeks, or several months, or even a couple of years, depending on the saga. Or quest, as I like to think of it. As in, "No more quests! I do not need to embark on any more quests. I have enough quests in my life right now."

Well, significant progress has been made on all active quests recently. Here's the review!

The Quest to Move House! (since Aug. 2013) John is this close to being done repainting the kitchen. I am this close to being done refurbishing the living room closet door. The plan is to take pictures on Monday and officially list the place on Wednesday.

Yesterday we took a look at a condo unit about half a mile away from our current address, and fell rather in love with it. It's not "more house-like," as I had hoped; rather, it's like our current home but upgraded. There's 200 more square feet, which shows in the second bathroom, the spacious master bedroom with walk-in closet, the huge common area which communicates with a roomy kitchen over a sit-down countertop. Also a utility closet with washer and dryer, which would mean no more obsessing over quarters or dragging laundry up and down all those stairs.

Though the units are stacked in rows just like at our current place, the clever floor plan allows the master bedroom to receive lots of natural lighting through a west and a north window. The unit is on the "ground" floor, with nothing below us but underground parking accessible by elevator.

Also, forced air instead of radiant heating. Wood fireplace. Two sinks in the master bathroom. Half a block away from the Wonderland Path greenway trail. Across the street from a wee private lake. So many good things.

We fell in love with it and said, "Oh, if only this had come up next week instead of now!" The realtor said he'd contact the seller about timelines. The seller seems flexible. And, on top of everything, despite our place not yet being listed, we've a potential buyer coming to see it. Tomorrow. At noon.

The buyer reportedly doesn't mind that the place currently resembles a low-key construction zone, but I predict a flurry of house cleaning tomorrow around 8:30 AM.

The Quest to Get Back on Skates! (since Jan. 10, 2015) Last week Tuesday my physical therapist gave me homework that involves lateral movement. Have I mentioned this before? It's a big deal. Lateral movement was taboo up to that point.

Well, yesterday we hit another big deal: He had me do a few different jumping exercises to see how that felt. Jumping! It felt OK. A little tired-sore behind the recovering knee, but OK. He says he may give me some jumping homework after tomorrow's appointment.

Meanwhile we're spacing out my PT appointments. We started at twice a week, but we're taking next week off and then doing only one a week. I'm scheduled on the 17th, March 5, and finally March 12. Do I get to skate after that? I do not know. I can only hope, and do my PT exercises. Religiously.

The Quest to Revise That Damn Story! (since Sep. 2014) ...well, I'm getting to that. I haven't moved much on it since last week. Hopefully I manage to get it moving tonight and tomorrow. Returning to my strategy of small goals, I am setting myself the Small Goal of "Don't worry about getting it right; just get it down."

What I have before me is the task of re-homing a bit of key dialogue from the scene I'm cutting to the scene the story now starts with. "Getting it down" might simply consist of copying and pasting whole blocks of text from the previous draft. It might consist of a bunch of sentences in the style of "And then this happened and then that happened." What it doesn't consist of is creating the perfect micro-segue written with the perfect phrasing in the perfect final-draft way.

It's hard to come up with the right words on the first go. I get stuck when I try to put perfect words down on a blank page. But if I put so-so words down, and then I read them, I will then magically know what the perfect words should be. Or at least I'll know how to turn so-so words into better words, which can then be turned into even-better words, and finally into not-perfect-but-it'll-do words.

I know this. I've known this for a long time. But I keep having to learn it over again. My excuse this time is, "Well, I'm working on a revision for resubmission. I can be forgiven for thinking that what comes out my keyboard next had better by perfect." The moral of the story is, One Revision Ain't. Ain't "one" revision, I mean. Any work on a story at any stage in its life cycle involves iterations of micro-revision. There's no getting around it. I'm happier, and more productive, when I don't try to get around it.

So my goal is to get the bit I'm working on unstuck by giving myself permission to write it badly. I'll tell you tomorrow how it went.