“Everyone has talent. What is rare is the courage to follow the talent to the dark places where it leads.”
Erica Jong

author: Nicole J. LeBoeuf

actually writing blog

as sick goes this was not so bad and i am almost all better now
Tue 2016-02-02 21:43:14 (single post)
  • 1,046 words (if poetry, lines) long

This weekend started out awesome. I celebrated being all caught up by taking myself out Saturday to the Bohemian Biergarten for beef stroganoff, beer, and several hours of uninterrupted and guilt-free Puzzle Pirates fun. It was excellent. After all the scrambling to get on top of things throughout the week, it was entirely what the doctor ordered.

But then after I got home that evening I started developing this cough, and a post-nasal-drip-type sore throat, and next morning the cough was worse and accompanied by that "cold inhale" feeling at the back of my throat that I associate with running a low-grade fever, and I had to admit I'd come down sick. I'd been looking forward to practice, but as it turned out, spending most of Sunday and Monday in bed were also what the doctor ordered.

However! I am feeling much better now. I put in a full work day today, consisting of the daily "gottas" and what remained of the end-of-month Friday Fictionette stuff. By the way, the Fictionette Freebie for January 2016 is "The Wine Cellar That Wished" (PDF | MP3). I personally think it's kind of funny, but I'll admit its humor is on the grim side. That's what makes it a good free sample, though. Anyone who decides to subscribe based on that will know what they're sometimes going to be in for. (See also "The Metamorphosis of Anita Chaplain", which I also maintain is funny. Yes, there is probably something wrong with me.) So, yeah, a full work day, up and at it before noon, and an actual change of shirt which is more than I managed all weekend I am sorry to tell you. And now I'm having that peculiar run of sneezes that's my body's way of getting the last of everything yucky out of its system.

A derby friend stopped by with chicken and dumplings, and herbal tea, and an orange. She was not the only derby friend to offer sustenance and comfort upon hearing I was sick. I kind of wanted to yell "It's just a cold, jeez y'all, I'll be fine," but that's because we are typically not trained to accept kindness well. Roller derby leagues are made of kindness. There's also a formal meal train going on to help out a teammate who just got out of surgery, and less formal gestures of love and support go on all the time. There are a lot of things we don't seem to get trained in, from accepting kindness to accepting our bodies, from viewing our geeky never-done-sports selves as athletes to viewing other women as potential friends. Roller derby counteracts these toxic omissions. At least, with the right league--but I've never yet encountered a league that was wrong for this. I'm sure there are some out there somewhere, because leagues are made of people and people sometimes fail. But in my limited experience, roller derby is remedial training in self-esteem for, and interpersonal support among, women.

[And now, a brief pause to make two-handed "heart" gestures and to mutter about how dusty it suddenly got in here.]

Meanwhile! Writing things I didn't get to today but certainly will tomorrow, assuming I feel this well or better: Figuring out where to resubmitting the handful of stories that came back from their latest outings with encouraging rejection letters. Figuring out which piece of potentially salable fiction will be my next afternoon shift project. Figuring out how to figure things out. ARGH DECISIONS

Oh look! Herbal tea with orange peel. It's going to be all right.

YPP Weekend Blockades, Jan 30-31: Wow is it dusty in here
Sat 2016-01-30 13:23:40 (single post)

Right now, right as we speak, Azarbad the Great is attacking Isla Spaniel on the Jade Ocean, and CORSARIOS DE POSEIDÓN are scrambling a defense! When I last checked, pay was 2500 pieces of eight per segment (PoE/seg). If that and a brigand king-free Spaniel is worth it to you, you know what to do!

Meridian and Emerald are the main stages for blockades this weekend--no surprises there. Barely Dressed are attacking Hadrian: "Still a bit unhappy about the paving of the wood spawns especially for a black market," says Camouflages. That won't be until 11:11 AM tomorrow morning, however. Well before that, Coming Soon will be making their move on Labyrinth Moors. They, too, are disgruntled: "We're not very happy with the amount of shoppes placed on Labby over the past few months so it's time to dust a few again," says Ever. Their attack begins at 3:44 PM. Bored before then? Why not help Radioactive defend Akhlys Island from the forces of evil?

On Emerald, things are just as busy. Deep Thought are 'kading against Kakraphoon's current owners! This Means War have posted yet another questionable intent video! Canon balls are flying! It's chaos down here, I tell you--chaos!

These are just the highlights. Scroll down for the full schedule...

But don't get distracted--this is your last weekend to acquire your Seal o' Piracy for January 2016! How's your pillage count coming along? I'm way short still, so I'll be heading online to do something about that right about now.

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

*** Saturday, January 30 ***

12:00 p.m. - Isla Spaniel, Jade Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: CORSARIOS DE POSEIDÓN
Attacker: La Llama que todo lo consume (1)

12:00 p.m. - Akhlys Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Radioactive
Attacker: Black Veil (2)
Undeclared: Meuro il Culo

2:01 p.m. - Ansel Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Blood Sweat and Beers
Attacker: Quid Pro Quo

3:44 p.m. - Labyrinth Moors, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Fellowship of Friends
Attacker: Coming Soon

4:00 p.m. - Kakraphoon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Keep the Peace
Attacker: Deep Thought

*** Sunday, January 31 ***

10:12 a.m. - Armstrong Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: The Crazy Department
Attacker: This Means War

10:33 a.m. - Cryo Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Gunslingers
Attacker: Glorious Geeks

11:11 a.m. - Hadrian Island, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Alria
Attacker: Barely Dressed

11:35 a.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: The Crazy Department

11:37 a.m. - Albatross Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: The Crazy Department
Attacker: This Means War

12:00 p.m. - Alkaid Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: The Crazy Department

Click through for excerpt and also all cover art attributions.
this fictionette is in very good company and had a tasty lunch
Sat 2016-01-30 00:21:08 (single post)
  • 905 words (if poetry, lines) long

As promised--as hoped--here's the fourth Friday Fictionette for January, which was to have gone up on the 22nd but instead I present to you today: "Doors Do Swing Both Ways." It's got dragon puppies in it, so you know you want to read it. That link goes to the teaser excerpt; subscribers may read or listen to the whole thing (905 words) in PDF or MP3 formats depending on their pledge tier.

So that's it for new material in January! Over the weekend I'll release the Fictionette Freebie for January, then early next week I'll mail out the Fictionette Artifacts to the $5/month Patrons (you know who you are and I wuv you THIS MUCH), and then I'll be all caught up! ... until the first Friday in February. BUT I DO NOT INTEND TO GET BEHIND IN FEBRUARY.

Speaking of all things Friday Fictionette: 'Tis the season for authors to publish lists of their 2015 publications! Most of them, admittedly, do this because it's awards nomination season, and it's helpful to know what's eligible for 2015 awards. I am not going there in the slightest. I have not even bought the map to there. However, it seems like it might be useful to provide a hyperlinked list of all the Fictionette Freebies released in 2015, just to have them all in one place for your reading convenience. Thus:

(In case you're wondering why there's no audio edition for January through March, well, I never managed to start producing them until April 2015. Eventually I will record MP3s for all the earlier fictionettes. For now, you got what you got.)

There! I'm more or less proud of them all. If you wind up reading them and enjoying them, great! And if you decide they're your kind of thing and you'd like four times as many of that sort of thing in your year, you know what to do.

This has been my shameless plug for the year.

In other news, I just discovered that the Whole Foods on Pearl Street will shuck you your choice of oysters on the half shell at a buck fifty per, and sometimes they run a buck-a-shuck special. Lunch today was amazing.

cheesy epiphanies because they were out of chocolatey ones
Thu 2016-01-28 00:50:11 (single post)

So January hasn't been going so well. Mentally and emotionally, I mean. Well, and also schedule-wise. Truth is, the stuff that went bad on Christmas Day, that stuck with me. It stuck with me hard. It struck resonances all up and down my family history, and that kind of thing is hard to shake. I've been doing a lot of sleeping late, either because the bad stuff's been keeping me up late, or because I'm so tired of having the bad stuff jangling around in my head that it's sometimes easier to just stay unconscious.

And then, as you know, I've been doing a reread and rework of Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, which has exercises in it like "Describe three 'monsters' who had a detrimental effect on your creativity or self-esteem" and "Write a 'letter to the editor' in your defense regarding one of those monsters." Which dovetails a little too closely with the lingering bad stuff.

Now, sometimes writing the bad stuff down exorcises it, if only temporarily. But sometimes it just sticks a knife in the scar tissue and rips the old wound wide open again. I never know which way it's going to be until it's had its way with my brain, you know?

I've been trying to counter the re-wounding effect by following up the exercises with a ten-minute session of Headspace, an app for doing meditation. It's helping, but slowly, because slowly is how I learn new things. "Let the thoughts be there, but be at peace with them being there. Don't get caught up in either trying to stop them or chasing after them. Just let them be." That kind of stuff takes practice. Meanwhile, the bad stuff comes and goes in waves and sometimes I still go under.

The other night, trying to go to sleep, I thought about a dream I've had on-and-off throughout my life. In it, I would find myself exploring the walk-in attics on the upper floor of my parents' house. As a child I was always forbidden to play in there, so of course I did. I loved exploring, I wasn't unaffected by the allure of the forbidden, and I loved also that I could hide away up there and no one could find me. I even outfitted a little room in one hard-to-reach corner, with pillows and blankets and a bead curtain and candles. I figured no one would ever find it. And no one did, not until I was in my 30s at least.

But here's the thing in the dream: Sometimes I would find a little slit or hole in the pink insulation, just a little tiny claustrophobic tunnel which, if I was brave, I could crawl through it (spun glass not being a problem in dreams) and follow it down to where it turned to the right and opened up into a tiny little cave, just my size. And I could hide there for as long as I needed to until I felt safe coming out. It was my mousehole and no one could hurt me there.

Thinking about this the other night, I thought, "No one actually wants to go 'back to the womb,' not really. What one wants is a womb of one's own."

That's not the epiphany. That's just a bad Virginia Woolf pun.

Besides, it's of limited usefulness. Because trying to envision myself crawling into my little imaginary mousehole, telling myself "the tunnel is so narrow, it scrapes your memories right off, so you can hide from them too," somehow it just put me ears-deep in the bad stuff again. The walk-in attics of my parents' house were too much associated with all things family and all the painful things that the bad stuff woke up. I didn't get to sleep for hours, and I hardly managed to stay asleep for more than a couple hours at a time. (The bad stuff was conspiring with my bladder on that one. I swear, my body seems to think its main function while I'm asleep is making pee. The late thirties appear to be one prolonged battle between waking up dehydrated in the morning or waking up to pee all night long.)

The next night is when the epiphany happened. I had just finished rereading Diane Duane's The Wizard's Dilemma. Like most of the Young Wizard books, it ends with a scene in what's known as Timeheart. That's kind of like a non-stagnant Heaven, or a version of Narnia's "further up and further in" without the nasty implications in the ending of The Last Battle. What's loved lives on there in cityscapes and natural vistas of perfection that go on and on as far as the eye can see and the heart desires to explore. In a lesser author's hands, this might have given rise to some sort of hokey Moral of the Story ending. Duane is not a lesser author. The scene provides emotional closure, but it doesn't pretend there are easy answers. It just reassures the characters (and the reader) that their sacrifices were worthwhile, and that there's hope.

And I closed the book and thought, "I want to walk out into a big bright new day like that. So much better than hiding away in my mousehole. I'm tired of making myself small."

And that's what the epiphany was. Unpacked, it goes something like this:

Pain makes us small. Pain makes us make ourselves small. We make ourselves small so we can hide away from the pain, hide away from the rest of the world when we're in pain. An animal in pain hides. It makes itself small.

But making yourself small doesn't make the pain go away. So now you're so much smaller than you were born to be, and still in pain on top of it all. That sucks.

Worse, pain makes our desires small. It makes us want small things. When we're in pain, we bargain: "Just take the pain away, that's all I ask."

But we're not born to want small! We're born to want everything--love and long life and happiness and fulfillment and friends and comfort and safety and meaningful work and the ability to change the world for the better. Wanting big isn't a glitch or vice or something to be ashamed of. It's our goddamned birthright!

So I'm not going to make myself small in my head anymore. In my head, I'm going to make myself too big for the pain. It might still be there, it might still hurt, but it's not going to be my world, because my world is so much bigger than that. And I'm allowed to want it all.

So that was my epiphany the other night. Cheesy, huh? But it helps me keep the mental bad stuff at bay while I'm trying to sleep, so that's something. And eventually this thing will run its course and I'll be fine again.

Oh, and the belated January 22 fictionette is coming along nicely. It has dragons in it. Puppy dragons. Three of them. They are the best.

Click through for excerpt and also all cover art attributions
this fictionette went to the art gallery two weeks late
Wed 2016-01-27 01:03:46 (single post)
  • 1,134 words (if poetry, lines) long

Well, hallelujah. It's a fictionette. This is the one that should have gone up on January 15. It's about as late as a fictionette's ever been. It's called "The Artist's Apprentice" (that's the teaser; subscribers click here for the whole thing in PDF and/or MP3) and it's a reinterpretation of the fairy tale "The Goosegirl." Now that I think of it, I sort of blundered in naming the characters. I forgot that the titular Goosegirl is in fact the genuine princess; it's her role in her betrothed's kingdom while her maid is pretending to be her. The impostor herself was never a goosegirl at all. But oh well. These things happen. I don't think the fictionette much suffers for it.

In fact, I'm kind of pleased with it. Which is surprising, given how much at a loss I was to even begin, back on the day when it was due. The original freewriting session turned out only a very verbose outline of the way the story should go, and not a single rough draft scene I could start from. I have a bad habit of babbling to myself about story ideas during half my freewriting time, like I'm trying to talk myself into finally diving in. It's not a bad way to get started on a larger project. It's a great way to make me cuss out my past self when it's time to start the week's fictionette.

Anyway, my hope is to have the belated January 22 fictionette out by the end of this week. I'd love to have it out tomorrow, but I know better than to make a rash promise like that, especially on a Wednesday. I'll be starting the thing from scratch, from the freewriting session output I selected to be the fictionette's bare bones. If I have it out by the month's fifth Friday, that'll be fantastic. Then I'll do all the end-of-month stuff over the weekend. And then I can start February fresh and new and perfectly on time.

That's the goal, anyway. We'll see how long it lasts.

Stay tuned for Wednesday night's blog post, which will be full of whining and excuses but also, quite probably, epiphanies. (I had a lightbulb moment last night which I'm sitting on until it can get a blog post of its very own.)

Seems like this captioned image should have been reserved for an attack by Barnabas the Pale. You know, the one who's actually a ghost?
YPP Weekend Blockades, Jan 23-24: Gold Boxes and Big (Canon) Balls
Sat 2016-01-23 13:05:08 (single post)

After long radio silence this week, what do you finally get? Updates on very overdue writing commitments? No! You get the Puzzle Pirates weekend blockade roundup! Why? Because it's Saturday!

The Emerald Ocean is where the bulk of the blockades are, three of which involving the suggestively named Bite the Pillow. Meanwhile, will Black Flag defend against the hordes of Admiral Finius? I sure hope so; overpowered brigand king attacks are where the PoE is! Meanwhile This Means War and Wait For It are up to their usual shenanigans.

On Cerulean, Carpe Noctum have stated their intent to defend Oyster Island against Azarbad the Great. Personally, I live on Oyster (when I'm logged in as Teshka) and I would vastly prefer not to have 100% taxes on my home island. So help CN out, yeah?

On Meridian, it's a similar story--Azarbad is attacking Duat. It's up to Imperial Coalition to defend the island or lose it! Meanwhile, Captholland of Blood Sweat and Beers wants to know why Chapter Three is buying out all his canonballs. Labor shortage? Nefarious blockade plans? Someone just likes big (canon) balls?

In non-blockade news, OceanMaster Aphrodite has announced that you can now use your excess subscription time to buy gold boxes. Your request to do so must be filed while gold boxes are actually available, and must be filed via the online support form. View Aphrodite's announcement in full to get all the details, including which of your details you must include for your purchase request to go through. (And no, this is not a dastardly scheme to reduce subscription time in preparation for some huge upheaval of the Cerulean Ocean. But go ahead and dream if it entertains you.)

And, of course, it is Saturday. But I am staying home from All The Things because of all that aforementioned stuff (writing and otherwise) that's overdue. Bleagh.

(Oh - and watch this space for Sunday blockade updates, if any.)

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

*** Saturday, January 23 ***

12:00 p.m. - Duat Island, Meridian Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Imperial Coalition
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (2)

12:40 p.m. - Wissahickon Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: This Means War

12:40 p.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: The Crazy Department
Attacker: Bite the Pillow

12:40 p.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Wait For It

12:46 p.m. - Ix Chel, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Bite the Pillow
Attacker: No Sympathy

3:00 p.m. - Manu Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Black Flag
Attacker: Fleet of his Imperial Scaled Highness (9)

3:00 p.m. - Windward Vale, Meridian Ocean
Defender: Alria
Attacker: Chapter Three

4:06 p.m. - Alkaid Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Wait For It

7:00 p.m. - Amity Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Coming In Hot
Attacker: Ready or Not

7:27 p.m. - Marlowe Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Coming In Hot
Attacker: Adventure Time

11:57 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Wait For It

Subscription Ocean Blockades

*** Saturday, January 23 ***

12:00 p.m. - Oyster Island, Cerulean Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Carpe Noctem
Attacker: The All-Consuming Flame (5)

managed to drop the key to a well-organized life down a storm drain
Wed 2016-01-20 00:16:56 (single post)

OK, so, I am behind in everything. Let's just get that out of the way right now. I'm behind on doing the books and paying the bills, I'm overdue several non-skating tasks for my roller derby league, I can't seem to get five hours of writing in during a work day, and I can't remember the last time I managed to spend quality time with my foam roller. I have been waking up with very stiff calf-muscles. I haven't read nearly as many books and stories that were published in 2015 as I'd have liked to have been able to consider for Hugo award nominations (I'll still cast a ballot - it just won't be as complete as I'd hoped). I'm even behind on my playtime. I've barely made a start on earning my January 2016 Seal o' Piracy, and I can't seem to get all seven daily jigsaw sudoku completed in a week.

Oh, and, hey, the Friday Fictionette for January 15 still isn't even fully drafted. Good news is, January 2016 is a month with five Fridays. Even if I'm not able to post the Jan. 22 fictionette on time, I have a whole 'nother week to get all caught up before the first fictionette in February is due.

So, much as it pains me, I'm letting Friday Fictionettes fall to a slightly lesser priority until some of the other stuff gets done. OK, well, not the Puzzle Pirates stuff. But the bill-paying and the league responsibilities and that sort of thing. Until they're done, fictionette catch-up will be happening at something less than a breakneck pace.

My problem was a weekend with not enough sleep, too much stress, and two back-to-back team practices on Sunday. I was exhausted. Whenever I didn't actually have to be anywhere, my system sort of just shut down all weekend long and yesterday too. Which meant I got behind on everything. More behind, I mean. Which meant I got stressed. (More stressed.) Which meant I went into self-defense shut-down again. It's sort of a feedback loop.

That I got anything done today was kind of a triumph. I did it by pretending that I had no deadlines at all, that nothing was overdue, and that I had all the time in the world to do things so long as I actually did them. I wonder if this is what that study is all about, the one that purports to demonstrate that people who lie to themselves a little are happier? Because "I have all the time in the world" and "there are no deadlines, nothing's over due" are totally bald-faced lies. But pretending to believe them lightened the stress enough to keep from wasting yet another day in oh-shit I-can't-handle-this shut-down mode.

So while nothing quite got finished today, progress was made on all fronts. More progress will be made tomorrow, assuming I'm able to drag myself out of bed on time.

Well. Sorry that all you get today is a navel-gazey introspective post. The actually writing blog is all about the writing process, and sometimes process ain't pretty. Sometimes the writing process depends on other processes. Well, it always does, right? The key to a productive writing life is structuring life so that there's room in it for writing. And, well, sometimes I manage to misplace that key. And then it's all, "Where did you last see it?" and "Retrace your steps," and "It's always in the last place you look..." And sometimes you just have to have a whole new key made because that first key, it's gone. You can't waste the rest of your week trying to find it. Just replace it and get on with your life.

That's about where I'm at.

YPP Weekend Blockades, Jan 16: Cap pay bonanza, Seal o' Piracy spreadsheets
Sat 2016-01-16 12:56:18 (single post)

This weekend in blockade highlights, Knockout on the Emerald Ocean is making good on last week's promise to attack Admiral Island and job at 9,999 pieces of eight per segment (PoE/seg). Meanwhile, This Means War is looking for help defending Alkaid and Scrimshaw from a dual attack by Wait For It. TMW is also starting at a 9,999 PoE/seg job offer. Wait For It has not yet posted an offer on the Notice Board, however; currently it seems to be focusing on its other attack, that on brigand king-controlled Aimuari. But it's not yet noon Pirate Time, so anything could happen.

As always, scroll down for the full schedule. And keep in mind that this is the debut weekend for the new drop window (Sat. 10 AM to noon PT), which is still open as we speak, so check back and you may see that some Sunday blockades have been announced.

Update: Well, one Sunday blockade. See below.

Meanwhile--how do you get your Seal o' Piracy for the month of January?

Completing 10 sea battles against brigands, and 10 sea battles against barbarians.

So it's back to YPP basics with a side order of spreadsheet obsessiveness! Good luck, everyone, and have fun...

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

*** Saturday, January 16 ***

10:31 a.m. - Accompong-Insel, Opal Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Glare
Attacker: Schwarzes Netz (1)

12:00 p.m. - Admiral Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: The Enlightened (9)
Attacker: Knockout

12:02 p.m. - Alkaid Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Wait For It

12:02 p.m. - Scrimshaw Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: This Means War
Attacker: Wait For It

12:07 p.m. - Aimuari Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King holds the island!
Defender: Chthonic Horde (7)
Attacker: No Offence Intended
Attacker: This Means War

4:00 p.m. - Marlowe Island, Emerald Ocean
Brigand King attack!
Defender: Coming In Hot
Attacker: The Jade Empire (7)

9:26 p.m. - Anegada Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: Illuminatti
Attacker: Pale Element


*** Sunday, January 17 ***

11:58 a.m. - Arakoua Island, Emerald Ocean
Defender: High Society
Attacker: Bite the Pillow

plonkdectomy and depurpling
Fri 2016-01-15 21:10:00 (single post)
  • 1,792 words (if poetry, lines) long

Today all I have to report is that yes, I did manage to submit "Down Wind" to the market with the January 15 deadline on its current submission window. I have done little else of use today, but, darn it, I did that.

It's weird. While there were still some three weeks to go, my thoughts on that story were along the lines of "it sucks it sucks there's too much to fix I can't fix it all I can't even begin to fix it" and I had to calm myself down. But this week, with the deadline looming, I caught myself thinking, "You know, it doesn't actually need that much work. It just needs a once-over and a read-aloud."

The truth was somewhere in between. It took me only about an hour today to finish it up, but the edits weren't all just sentence-sounds-better tweaks. Some edits were ruthless deletions because that sentence isn't adding anything to the story, and that other one is just a rehash of something that's already made clear here. On the print-out, there's a big slash-mark over half a paragraph in the first scene, with a note in the margin saying "Angst! Woe! Cut." One has to trust that the angst and woe will come across without the author plonking the reader on the head with an angst-and-woe stick.

Now I have to figure out what to do next. I have ever so many ideas for new stories from doing my daily freewriting--but I also have a few more stories to dig out of revision hell. We'll see which project successfully auditions for my attention next week.

And over the weekend... all the things I didn't do this week (ahem ahem late fictionette). That's the plan, anyway. Without something big like a roller derby bout to beat me up on Saturday, I should have no problems, right? All I've got is six hours of practice on Sunday. No big deal, right? Riiiiiight.

Click to view original photograph by steppelandstock at DeviantArt.
late fictionettes beget more lateness so stop begetting already
Wed 2016-01-13 00:40:15 (single post)
  • 1,904 words (if poetry, lines) long
  • 1,101 words (if poetry, lines) long

Oh, for goodness's sake. Being four days late with each week's Friday Fictionette is not the way to woo new subscribers. Well, here's the nominal January 8 fictionette, anyway: "The Magpie's Big Heist." Everyone knows magpies will compulsively steal shiny things, right? Except, as it turns out, they don't. Well, there goes one more piece of cherished folklore. And of course I didn't fact-check the legend until after I'd written and published the fictionette. Too bad. If knowing this doesn't ruin that early plot point in Terry Pratchett's Carpe Jugulum for you, then you can suspend disbelief for this little story-like object too.

Also I released the Fictionette Freebie for December 2015. It's "The Thing With Feathers" from December 4. That's the link to the PDF; audio is here. Both formats are now free for anyone to download and read or listen. I chose that one because I just really like it. It felt good to write. I hope y'all like it too.

I was so sure I could have all the fictionette things done at least by Sunday evening. No big deal, right? I was taking the day off from derby anyway, right? Except the whole reason I needed the day off from roller derby was also the reason I couldn't get the fictionette done, nor yet anything else that would have been halfway useful: I was pretty much dead for the day. I am always pretty much dead the day after a bout. Why do I forget these things? Success at getting things done goes hand in hand with awareness of how things don't get done. My awareness is sometimes not so good.

And the problem with lateness is, it begets lateness. I am now also running up hard against this Friday's deadline to submit "Down Wind" where I want it to go; prioritizing it might impact my chances of getting the January 15 fictionette out on time.

Well, my friends, I shall do my best.

Today I'm also starting my 2016 re-read and work-through of The Artist's Way, Julia Cameron's 12-week course in creativity. It's not for everyone, but it helps me. I work through it every few years as a sort of wellness check-up. I'm not in the same place that I was in the first time I read the book, nor even the fifth time, so I'm getting new insights out of the exercises. Revisiting the chapter on Basic Tools helped me re-focus my daily Morning Pages practice--why I do it, how best to do it, what I can hope to get out of it. And the Week 1 emphasis on converting nasty, discouraging, near-involuntary brain-blurts ("There's no way I'll get through all the stuff I have to do, I'll let everyone down, it's hopeless") into positive affirmations ("I am capable. I am reliable. I am relaxed and confident. I have all the time I need to accomplish all my goals") is really useful right now. I have a lot of brain-blurts that need converting.

Perhaps later on this week I'll have more coherent thoughts to share about the process. For now I'm just trying to find time to do the process.

The blood pressure thing is going well. Like, super-well. The bottle my meds came in is labeled Nifedipine, fancy specialized terminology that basically translates to miracle juice and magic powder. I started taking it Saturday, and every day since then my morning readings have gotten lower and lower, and today they were downright normal. A normal blood pressure reading for the first time in more than a year! Modern medical science, y'all. It works. Also I got my echocardiogram scheduled at last, so that's nice.

Really, the week's off to a great start. It's just been a slow start and I don't like slow.

Now it is time to once more put myself to bed and hope the derby aches and pains go away enough to do more derby tomorrow. I'm told one eventually adjusts. Wouldn't that be nice?

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