Monthly Archives: April 2016

Got Time For a Quickie?

ROW80LogocopyShort one today, all y’all.  The hubby and I have a lunch date with friends, insurance paperwork…yadda yadda. There’s all the time in the world it seems…

just after everything else is done first.

So here’s it all in a nutshell.

This has been an incredibly crazy, yet oddly productive week.  I’m on track with everything except my new “creativity goal”, but since the Boodle is home from school this week and there’s been a shift of focus there, I’m not too bothered.

IMG_4137_1What is bothering me is that nagging surety I’ve lost a friend.  Mr. Kitty, the last of our feral cats turned to cuddle-bum and window serenader,  hasn’t come home since Sunday.  Worse yet, since I’d been desperate to sleep in on Sunday for some huggy-dozing time with the Leader of the Opposition Party, it was the Boodle that fed Mr. Kitty, not me—I’m actually not sure he was here on Sunday at all.

All I can do is hope that if he was caught by someone (some group has taken up catching ferals nearby because we had had the male version of the feared cat lady down the road for years, and he finally lost his home and the cats have run rampant).  I really hope Mr. Kitty was trapped by such a group and not taken by coyotes (so far the nearby roads shows no sign of a kitty-corpse).  He’s lovable, affectionate, wants to have a forever home (which is something I could have never given him because of… things).

But this, and so much of this past year when I wasn’t blogging because life was cray-cray, is why I picked the title I did today.  Maybe it wouldn’t have helped if I had gotten up on Sunday—maybe he was gone already—but I wouldn’t have this regret that I ‘wasn’t there’ when I could have been.

IMG_3179It was the same when my grandfather died in December…  we hadn’t gone to see him because we’d been fighting cold and sickness after cold and sickness, and he had a very compromised immune system.

One of my best friends died in December…  we’d set plans for a lunch date in January ‘after the holiday crazy was done’.  It was a freak thing, but…  now I eat sushi and cry a little (kind of happy tears, because they are great memories, but still).

And my grandmother died a few weeks later.  I got to spend some time around Christmas with her, but then Rod’s death and disasters at the Boodle’s school…

It seemed like so much to take a day trip to Syracuse just for an hour or two of visiting.  Maybe next weekend I’d have ‘more time’…

No.  There was no more time.  There is no more time.

So, yesterday…  when I invited Elizabeth Anne Mitchell to sprint with me and she couldn’t because she had a meeting in ten minutes at work, I decided I was making a change for myself at the very least.  I texted her back “Quick, write two sentences!”

I mean, there’s always time for a Quickie….

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The Morning After

Here I am a day late for my ROW80 check-in, and I feel completely unapologetic about it.  The last few days have been, to quote the prolific Chuck Wendig, amazeballs (actually Chuck has a lot of really awesome, though mostly NSFW* terms for writers to… um, ponder).

Anyway, absolutely friggen amazeballs!

Not only have I again caught up with all of my goals, I’ve been exceeding them (well, not totally, I still haven’t started that creative art thingie I was going to do, except a bit of coloring on one of those so-called “adult coloring pages” I printed off a while ago and had lain around.  I’m working on it slowly, bit by bit.

Here is something I drew myself for that very purpose you can download and color yourselves if you’d like.  It’s not Great Art, it’s just a sketch I made once.  If you click on the image before you download, you should get a full page image.

Just an old pump to color

Just an old pump to color

And besides…  I have had too much fun with my wonderful characters to want to do much more than spend my free time with them.   Especially Atyr…  she’s hard to ‘relate’ to, a lot harder than most of the others.  I find myself not connecting to her, a lot.  She’s got religious and political views that are alien to most anything I’ve been raised around.  And while I’ve made some study of martyrs, there is a deep difference between knowing the acts of someone so devoted to a belief and the inner feelings of such a person.

And a long time ago, I realized that for all that she lives through her choices, Atyr is a martyr to her faith.  To her, life is her punishment for not serving in her religious duties better, even despite the fact that those in charge of the temples she had been raised in were not acting in the interest of the people they served or the good of the world at large.

But Atyr believes in ideals, not individuals.  And I’m more the opposite.  I believe in individuals, then groups with more caution.  Ideals…. no so much. It always seems to me that everyone has their own interpretation of an idea—there doesn’t seem to be a universality to many things, and those tend to not involve higher level thought: basic needs, etc.

Yeah…  she’s a zealot.  And I think a lot of my problem with working with her is because people with that dogmatic a personality make me very uneasy even to be around.

But enough of my writing problems (what few there are…  one character out of several, and lots of words to write about all of them)…

Here’s some nori before I start the assessment of my goals.  I think I want to make something like stained glass out of this stuff.  Isn’t it just awesome?nori panes

And now my weekly assessment:

  • Goal: working through three chapters weekly of James Scott Bell’s Plot & Structure (including exercises)
  • Progress: still detoured progress here, though I not done much Syd Field’s Screenplay either; some other library book reading… and an overdue fine to pay tomorrow
  • Goal: catching up in my local critique group (including submitting something this week)
  • Progress: group is on hold for the month of April; however, finished all the critiques I owe; now need to submit something
  • Goal: typing two pages a day of old notebooks in
  • Progress: one page ahead of count
  • Goal: (VIG) Write new words daily! (the Five Sentences thingie)
  • Progress:  getting ALL the words…  am so loving this time with my characters
  • Not a Goal but Progress Anyway: managed to sort out and discover several files for bits of story and notes I’d thought I’d long lost and place them in Scrivener projects with the stories they belonged to *happy dance*

Again, since this post was late, and I was having serious doubts about getting anything done on Wednesday, I’m holding off one more week before I consider adding in extra projects.  We’ll see how things are by mid-week (fair warning my mid-week check-in will be on Thursday because this one is a day late).

Hope you had fun reading and plotting your own creative endeavors.  Before you go, why not visit a few other awesome ROWers here!

  • or most daily life…  you can do serious damage choking on that latte if you read these while drinking

Just Wasting Time

On a scale of 1-10, I’d have to say these last few days have been floating around 5.  I got most things done.  I’ve also been so very easily distract-able that most any effort I’ve made seems small in comparison to the amount of effort I’ve spent in redirecting myself to get the things done.

And…  despite what I thought on Sunday, it wasn’t squirrels.

Some of it has been good-old self-discovery and analysis.  Good things really, and part of why my pittance of accomplishment doesn’t bother me all that much (because I really fell down on my ROW80 goals since Sunday!).

Yesterday while writing my 750 words entry (ended up 2.5K WOOT!), I glanced at the accumulated art supplies around my office and wondered why I never use them; or if I do, it’s for a quick “try this”… which usually ends in disappointment because I’m an obsessive perfectionist.

Which brings me back to the title…  I have a ton of art supplies I never use, I have a ton of stories I don’t show anyone…  I say I don’t like to cook, but the truth is these things flow from a fear of waste.

Art supplies are—I was always told—expensive.  Don’t waste them.  Use scrap paper to practice on.  What’s wrong with a #2 pencil or a ballpoint pen?  You want markers?  Here’s a pack of 36 colors for a dollar.  Never mind that most don’t work…

Apologies to my writing friends who've seen these

Apologies to my writing friends who’ve seen these but this IS that one page

It took me three years before I felt comfortable enough to make my first drawing in a sketchbook I’ve got in my supply bag.  Three years…  I’ve since drawn in it twice in six months, both pictures on the same piece of paper.

I’ve sketched things on a napkin (ruined in my purse two days later) and the backs of a few pieces of junk mail (some where in the house!).  But a dedicated, special for me place to hold my art?  Not really.

Poster paints and craft paper and years of sun-damage

Poster paint, craft paper and years of sun-damage

I have a paint set I opened the box of, looked at all the pieces and then set aside when I have time to take an art class so I can learn how to use the correct brushes and such.  Then there are the stacks of unopened canvases…  Despite this excess, I only allowed myself to use 99 cent bottles of poster paint and a 59 cent set of dried water-colors on craft paper since my son was born.  It’s not that I don’t like painting.  I don’t feel qualified to do it based on my limited grade-school art experiences, and I know I’d be wasting real supplies.

A real indulgence--a (THE) Paint and Sip project I did as part of a fundraiser for my son's school

A real indulgence–a (THE) Paint and Sip project I did as part of a fundraiser for my son’s school

And given the years when I would cook something I knew was past its expiration date or badly freezer burnt because I couldn’t bear to toss it (both my parents are avid volunteers at their local food pantry; my son has asked for a food donation to give to one of our local pantries for every birthday party he’s had since he was four….  I could not throw away food).  I wouldn’t make anyone else eat it; I accepted my punishment for forgetting it in the back of the freezer or the cupboard.

I spent two weeks cooking various apple and crab apple recipes--and ended up tossing jars of work because I was the only one to eat it

I spent two weeks cooking various apple and crabbie recipes–and ended up tossing jars of work because I was the only one to eat it

For a long time, I felt I couldn’t write for the same reason.  But…  unlike painting, which I enjoy but even feels like dabbling, or cooking, which can feel fulfilling as a hobby, a creative game to play when I need to stretch myself, I needed to write stories.   If I didn’t write something, I curled up on the couch hugging my knees and muttered to myself.*

This doesn’t mean I felt my writing was good.  Only that I needed to do it.  And yes, I have noticed some improvement with the years of practice.  I’ve noticed some deterioration though too.  This is one of the reasons I’ve set myself a goal to typing in old notebooks.  I don’t know what happened, and I’d like to understand it.  But for all that crappy writing from the past, my newer stuff feels like it has lost something.

I’m trying to understand it, and a lot of other things about the person I keep becoming.  That’s one of the reasons I keep coming back to the ROW80; it gives me writing and self-study…  and so far it’s a lot cheaper than therapy.

So, my check-in for today is to add another “goal”.  Or maybe a permission…

Yes, I give myself permission to mess up something.** 

I give myself permission to ruin something.  I even give myself permission to toss things.  I accept that I cannot hold onto everything. I accept that not everything I make will be good. I will ruin things, I will make mistakes… I will make beautiful things and I will make absolute shit.

I will just do it.

*Really.  Ask some of my former roommates if you don’t believe me.

**(Yeesh… my whole body shivered as I typed those words, my fingers felt twitchy, almost numb).