Friday, October 31, 2003
After a mad dash outside to put all the things that shouldn’t get wet into the carport, I’m sitting on the floor of the living room waiting. The neighborhood kids seem to think I have candy, and it turns out I do. Though not much. I really shouldn’t have opened the bag earlier in the day. I don’t even like tootsie rolls that much.
Anyway, the hardwood floor guys came today. We’re having bamboo laminate floors put in. Actually, for Halloween, they’re bamBOO floors. So, the day was spent moving furniture around the house from the old floor onto the new floor. I don’t feel like uncovering the couch and sitting there, mostly because I’d then be facing the wall and have very little legroom. So I dragged a couple of floor pillows in and I’m sitting on the floor on one and the dog seems to have curled herself up into a ball on the other. She’s growling mostly, as the trick-or-treaters are always nearby.
You’re saying to yourself right now, why is she telling me this? It’s true, I haven’t been bloggy, I haven’t been typetive. But it’s late October and NaNoWriMo starts tomorrow and I have to ramp up my incessant rambling or else I’ll cramp up tomorrow.
Also, I’m cold and the laptop is warm.
I’m just waiting for October to be over. Maybe I’ll sit around and wait for the neighborhood kids to come by and beg for candy. Or maybe I’ll just go to bed early.
Or maybe, just maybe I’ll stay up until midnight and start then ... get a few thousand words up on the screen and outta my head.
I’m planning on spending the day moving furniture around the house (in an effort to stay ahead of the hardwood floor installers) and perhaps coming up with a first sentence for my novel. At the very least an idea of where I’m starting. I think it might go like this:
“Dymphna combed and braided her mother’s hair this one last time. When she stepped back, the nuns came forward and stripped her mother’s body and began the ritual funeral bathing.”
Or something like that.
Wednesday, October 29, 2003
After months of not posting, here I am, three in one day. Of course this sentence is just here so that the following didn’t run into the little Celtic Knot gif. Of course this has nothing to do with my novel. But I like quizzes.
I don’t know if anyone has actually given voice to this before. But here goes:
I have this secret hope (well, it’s not much of a secret if I post it in my blog) that my novel will be great. I have this weird faith or delusion that my novel will turn out great. That my ramblings under a deadline will be a work of pure transcendental genius.
Maybe it’s because I’ve kind of being coasting along with my writing for a great many years. I don’t find writing or revising terribly difficult. Writing a play, for me at least, is not that hard. I just have to be very motivated by a rich idea and then do it. Does that make me talented? I don’t think so. I think that everyone is a writer inside, but they’ve put up barriers to letting ideas come out, or allow themselves to get distracted before the ideas come to fruition.
I just wonder if I’m going about this wrong. If I should be trying harder. Or maybe it’s the not trying but the doing that makes things what they are. (Do or do not, there is no try - Yoda)
Or maybe I’m just an egotistical elitist who believes that my slightest thought is valuable and should be shared the instant I have it.
I have a nemesis for November now. His name is Graham and he lives in the UK. You can visit his journal and see how he’s doing! Leave him a nice note in the comments. I even put him over on my Wrimo blogs list.
I know, some folks don’t like the term enemy or even nemesis. Maybe adversary? Oh, is that still too contentious? Let’s face it sometimes we need a little competition in order to complete a huge task. And that’s all NaNoWriMo is. Sure, it’s all huggy and supportive and whatnot, but sometimes you just need someone to kick your butt. And maybe it’s leading by example - Graham has a full-time job and maybe he’s able to do more words per day than I am, so I’ll just work a little harder to keep up with him.
And I suppose it’s going to work in reverse, too. I wouldn’t say I’m a role model, but I can certainly testify that it can be done and has been done by thousands of people and my life is pretty much an open book and I’m willing to talk about all the tricks I use to get through NaNoWriMo.
And they’re not even tricks. I’m not one for word-padding. I like to joke about it, but I don’t really indulge in using lyrics or quotes. I do, however, just go on incessantly. The “trick” if you can call it that, is to just keep typing. If you’re stuck, just move on. Go to a place that you know, skip to a spot in the story that you can tell. Leave a little asterisk or something there and go back later. It’s in all the books on writing, especially if you’re a disciple of Natalie Goldberg - you just have to go with it.
Sure, my novel will look something like a stream-of-consciousness version of a really wordy outline. But I can attest that it is readable in the most basic of ways. Anything beyond that is gravy, baby.
Saturday, October 25, 2003
Well, I’ve been working on the look & feel of the site. So consider this fastfiction v 2.0.
I did a pretty much straight swap out of all the current graphics (just replaced them with other graphics of the same name on the server) which I was hoping would make it much easier to enact this changeover. I changed my archiving over to monthly instead of weekly. Since the blog has been going on for about two years, it was getting to be a long list. I also purged the links to other wrimo blogs list and got rid of the dead links. I posted links to my favorite entries at the top as well. I figured once I put in the larger images I had all the space, I may as well fill it up.
The graphics are all legal. The Celtic Crosses at the top are taken from photos of carved stone crosses from the sixth through eighth centuries. The elements at the left are taken from the Durrow Gospels and Lindisfarne Gospels (illuminated manuscripts) from the same period. I’ll probably add some other little elements in every once in a while. I founds some cool elements from those illuminated manuscripts - things like lions and dragons and a great one of Jesus being arrested. But that’ll be for another time.
So, your comments? Something not working? Let me know.
Friday, October 17, 2003
Well, I think I’ve settled on my new novel idea. I’m loathe to discuss it here, I think the more I talk about an idea, the less I need to write it all out.
In short, I’m combining the tale of Saint Dymphna and one of the more obscure Grimm’s Fairy Tales, Allerleirauh, into a sort of alternating chapter novel. One takes place in the gritty 7th century in all its primitive pre-industrial iron-age glory and the fairy tale chapters will take place in that other pretty realm of stories. I have no clue if it will be interesting to anyone else but me.
The good thing is that I think I picked a story of the perfect length for NaNoWriMo. Last year’s story really needed to be conceived as a full novel. This story seems perfect for a novella.
Friday, October 10, 2003
We are in the middle of a kitchen remodel. Well, maybe not the middle, maybe we’re at the beginning, as demolition has only just begun. Or maybe we’re at the end, because the planning is the longest part.
But all that aside, some fellows came to our house on Monday and they tore our kitchen out. And what didn’t get torn out on Monday, got torn out on Tuesday. The windows came out. And then the walls came down, well, plaster anyway. We have one of those great old houses that still has plaster & lath in many spots. I’m not sure if it makes more of a mess than demolishing drywall or not.
As our house has a rather open floorplan (and even more open when we’re done), it was not a matter of just closing the doors and tearing it up. No, there are walls of plastic. Huge spans of visquine that heave and bellow as any breeze sucks air out of the sequestered kitchen.
Oh sure, everyone’s making fun of me. I’m rather upset by the whole thing.
I’m most upset for the poor dishwasher. It was a wonderful and awful dishwasher. A Kitchen Aid, at least 22 years old. In its final run of dishes it whirred and groaned and popped so loudly, the Man and I had to yell just to carry on a normal conversation. But it worked. Sure, the door wouldn’t stay open, or closed. Sure, it didn’t really wash dishes so much as wet them and heat them and pelt them with noise. Sure all the little prongs and separators had rusted off and left little rusty spots on the dishes. But it was ours. And I get all gooey-affectionate just knowing that so many other people would have tossed it out years ago, but we made it work and kept it until what must surely be the end of its useful life. So, now it sits down in the carport, waiting for someone to drag it into the dumpster and send it off to the landfill or scrap-yard.
I think it reminds me of the Hans Christian Andersen story, The Fir Tree. The story is about a discontented little tree wanted nothing more than everything else that he didn’t have, but the way it’s told from the point-of-view of the tree has always just ... well, saddened me. The poor thing, it only wanted to fulfill its role in world, but it never knew how. Or wasn’t given the chance ...
So, here I am, crying because this stupid dishwasher that really doesn’t work, wastes water and electricity, I’m crying because it is going away.
But just as a point of reference, I used to cry when my mother would tear up old sheets to use as rags. Dunno. I just have this soft spot.
As some sort of appeasement to me, the butcherblock that was the top of the dishwasher is going to be saved. Our cabinet-maker is going to take it off and sand it down, oil it and give it back to us to use. The only thing that we’re keeping from the old kitchen. Like some weird mounted head trophy from a kill.
Well, I guess it could be nice. Or maybe I’ll just break down sobbing when they give it to us. I can just see it, Cybele walking around the house, clutching the huge butcherblock to her chest, petting it and cooing ...
Thursday, October 09, 2003
I need to get in the habit of writing more.
This isn’t really much better than nothing, is it?
Friday, October 03, 2003
Perhaps I should be updating my blog more often, but as my obsessive personality dictates, I have moved on to a new passion.
Right now it’s my typing monkeys. Well, they’re not mine.
It’s called the Monkey Shakespeare Simulator. It’s a java experiment to test that old proposition that if you put an infinite number of monkeys in front of an infinite number of typerwriters, eventually they will produce the works of Shakespeare. (David Ives has a great short play about this, called Words, Words, Words in his collection, All in the Timing.)
Anyway, just open the window and watch the little primates bang away at their keyboards. I’m stalled out at 7 characters, but with over 3 million monkeys at the moment, I am confident by the end of the year we might actually get a sentence out of the industrious little fellows.
My other question is if they are monkeys or chimpanzees. I think chimps would work better, they have a greater handspan than say, your capuchins or colubus.
During November it's all about me writing a novel. Sometimes it's about whalewatching. You know, and then there's other stuff.