life, writing

Everything Shines

Not sure what I’m doing right these days, or if this is all just some transient biochemical blessing unconnected to my own efforts, but I feel so good about everything right now.

I am just about 1/3 of the way through revising what I’ve already got written of Fairy Hills. I feel excited and happy to be writing this book again, which is a welcome change from the past few months. I keep relearning the lesson, that if working on a story feels like dire travail, there is something out of alignment. Wordcount has not moved much (46,539), but I hope to get through the revisions quickly and back to new territory.

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Everything else is humming right along. I’ve been meditating, practicing French, doing my morning pages, paying attention to my water intake. I’m taking a few days off from running because my ankle was bothering me, but I’m going to give it a try tomorrow and see what happens. I re-read The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series over the past week or so and found that it retains its charm after all of these years. Autumnal weather is finally here, so I am likely to shift back to knitting more. My daughter and I made macarons.

Title of the post is from this song by Mitch King, to which I have been listening rather a lot this week.


1,167 Miles

That’s my drive log for the past three days, during which I went back to the city in which I grew up in order to attend my grandfather’s funeral. I haven’t much to say about that just yet — I am very glad that I went, but the trip was draining, and I had very little down-time throughout.

On Wednesday after the funeral and family gathering were done, I drove out to Presque Isle to see the sunset. Took off my shoes, walked in the sand, watched an intrepid wind-surfer catching the last of the waves–it was very windy, and high water had closed most of the beaches.

On the way home on Thursday, I stopped at Montezuma National Wildlife Refuge. The New York Thruway cuts straight through it. I’ve been past it dozens of times, usually in the winter. The meadows are flooded then for the use of migrating shorebirds, and there is a bleak beauty about the place. It looks very different in August than in December! I walked one of the trails, admired the monarch butterflies, listened to the wind in the aspen trees and cicadas singing the end of summer.

The month has been a total bust writing-wise, so I’m not going to post one of my usual charts. Hoping for a reset in September.


Summer Doldrums

It has been one of those weeks. After a very pleasant weekend, the week turned into an office stress-fest that left me too drained to do much of anything but knit, and not even very demanding knitting. I did finish my work friend’s going-away gift, and I made a quick cowl for myself with some of that glorious alpaca yarn I’ve had stashed away forever.

Other than that? I went to a town meeting about climate change, and I signed us up for a curbside composting service, so that’s exciting, at least to me. Went for a bike ride and have been doing a bit of running, so it’s not like I’m slothful right now. But there has been no writing, no reading, and very little quietude this week. I am frustrated by my own inability to form strong habits around things I (in theory) want to achieve.

And so we roll into the last month of summer. I don’t feel ready.

garden, life, reading, writing

Happy Readercon!

After a bit of dithering (surprise), I decided to go this year. And we got an extra day off at work, so I’m even going to the Friday daytime programming, which is a first. I’m a little nervous about going solo, but it’s all part of the “leave room for things in happen in” practice, and there is a lot of interesting stuff on the schedule.

The summer is passing quickly and without much drama. We did a lot of traveling last week, hence no update–I was tired! with three days in NH at a family Fourth of July, and two in CT visiting friends. I take a picture just like this every summer at the lake, because I am a creature of habit and like to get up early while everything is still.

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Fairy Hills just hit 40k words after a few weeks of steady progress. I am making deep changes to this part of the story, so this really is like a first draft all over again. Which is annoying, I confess, because that means that there will be yet another draft in the near future, and I would like to put this project to bed someday. I bought an app called Word Keeper, which is delightful if you enjoy looking at progress charts–sort of like the NaNoWriMo wordcount tracker made perpetual and a bit shinier.

Writing has been going well enough that I have tried off and on of late to turn off the laptop and read in the evening. I’ve read 24 books so far this year, which is frankly amazing (for me). I’ve been reading a lot of new-to-me nonfiction stuff: Thinking in Systems, Liminal Thinking, How to Change the World–you may be sensing a theme. In fiction I have been visiting old favorites. Tea with the Black Dragon is just as charming as I remember it being, as was Who’s Afraid of Beowulf?

In other news, the driveway garden is flourishing. Already considering ways to expand next year, since I haven’t managed to entirely kill anything so far this summer (the basil bolted while we were gone, and a few of the sunflowers aren’t going to make it, but everything else is hanging in there pretty well). I had no idea potato plants grew so big!

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And this was a longer update than I expected to write. Have a great weekend!

life, Uncategorized

Snipping a Digital String

Last week I posted on FB to let people there know that I will be shutting down my account next weekend. This decision has been roughly a year in the making, but the slow drip of news about the company’s terrible practices finally outweighed the convenience of the site.

What’s weird is that this feels so momentous. It’s not as if I’m going off-grid, achieving some state in which I can only be contacted by magic spell. I’m ceasing to use one particular web site out of the millions in existence. I still have a blog (several blogs), email, a phone, an address. I look forward to writing more letters. I look forward to having one fewer direct line from my mind to someone else’s hand, pulling at my attention.

I came of age in the 90s. I’m not an early adopter, but I’ve spent my entire adult life on the internet, much of it in digital communities going back to Usenet. Maybe I’m just getting old, but those felt different from what we have now. Even when I was using it more enthusiastically, I’ve never entirely gotten the hang of “social” media. I don’t like how I feel while I’m using these sites, and I don’t like what the companies are doing to anyone.


Things Happen

That things take their own time was part of the plan for this year, and I keep coming back to it. I still don’t have a new job, and writing progress has been slow, but other things are going on in the meantime.

I’ve been working on a sourdough starter, a project I last attempted oh, maybe ten years ago? We were living in Worcester at the time, which puts it back quite a ways.

I’ve been paying more attention to my meditation practice.

My potatoes are sprouting, and the sunflowers my daughter planted with her friend who lives downstairs. The cottonwoods in the office park where I work are seeding, bits of fluff like snow flurries in June, accumulating into tumble-balls and drifting against the curbs.

On the other end of the rhythmic scale, the farmers market we like is back in session, a weekly reminder of the unalterable urgency of fresh foods.

Things will continue to happen.

life, writing

And That’s a Wrap

Much sooner than expected, I have run out of book. It’s a little shy of 89k words, which is awfully short for a genre novel in today’s world, but the story I have in my mind is now in a file, so… gonna stop there rather than add fluff just for the sake of wordcount. It may be that something truly significant is missing that I just can’t see right now, but there is no rushing these things.

Which of course means that I need something else to work on. That particular story-world is my favorite, but it’s also my least potentially sellable one–by which I mean “least likely to find even a handful of readers, let alone make any money”. It is very much a self-indulgent project that way. Charging right on to a potential third book wouldn’t make much sense, even if it would be fun.

So. It is May. I feel like I’m in a decent productivity groove with writing, and I don’t want to take a break, per se. I still have Fairy Hills to rewrite. That needs a lot of structural work, so that’s not a thing where just plunging into a new draft will get me anywhere. Spending a week or two figuring out what needs to be done before I begin would make sense.

There is also my day job situation, which is making me more and more unhappy. If it was something I was putting up with while I worked on a writing career, that might be one thing, but I can’t plan around that; writing fiction is a hobby (an expensive hobby, at that). I have been looking for a new job in my current field for two years without results–a lot of complimentary conversations, a couple of near misses, but no offers. The options seem to be either widening my criteria for my current search by quite a lot, or starting over entirely in a different field. Either way is going to mean a significant pay cut, which is a frustrating and somewhat scary thing to contemplate in your mid-forties while your country and indeed the planet disintegrate around you.

Better get back to studying, I suppose.