Sunday, April 18, 2010

There is a tiny cat giving me a glare of death.

Sweet Pea, aka Tiny Cat, is giving me a death glare for some reason. I don't think she likes the synthpop I've got playing. Or she's just being a cat. It's hard to tell which sometimes.

I haven't written as much as I'd like in a few weeks. Honestly, I've got a semi-voluntary writer's block right now. In the last three weeks, I've moved back home, found out I've got an essentially untreatable bone spur in my right elbow (yes, the dominant one), and experienced pain unlike anything I've ever felt thanks to a medication change that will be reversed as soon as I talk to my pain specialist. Plus, next weekend is Conestoga. I'm going to be digging my nails in the whole time just to get through it. Fortunately, I get to stay at the hotel (woo!), which will make it easier to grab a little rest now and then.

I've actually realized that, without the wasband, I've lost a major reason for my writing: a need to escape what was essentially a prison. I was well on my way to losing my mind, thanks to him, and writing kept me sane. Now that I am sane, I need to dig into myself and get my motivation back. I've got another prison, for all the good or bad it'll do me, and now it's time to write to escape myself. Getting my pain medications balanced out will help. It's hard to write when you're so dosed you slur your words, and equally hard when the act of moving your fingers to type sends shooting pains all the way to your back. I just need to find my happy medium with regards to pain, exhaustion, medication, and stories.

For now, I'm going to go dye my hair. Pain really makes you feel like shit about yourself, and I need to see something other than dark circles under my eyes when I look in my mirror. At least my hair is short again. Wasband bullied me into growing it long. Now that I have my way? I have no more than three months' worth of growth in any direction. Huzzah!

And now, as Blofeld said, "No, Ms. Ward, I expect you to dye!"

Monday, February 22, 2010

Blog Day

Apparently, this is Create and/or Update Blogs Day. I've started yet another one, called Dirt Poor Vegan (which I am), and I've finally re-acknowledged Seward's Folly. So what's up on the writing front?

I've mostly been sleeping lately. The weather's got me in a bad place, as do my allergies. However, I'm still slowly picking away at the short novel-to-novelette, and I'm working on an old rewrite that requires some actual writing. It's a habit I have to get back into, and there will be days (gasp!) when I can't write. I know that sounds like a build-up for a lousy excuse, but my lousy excuses are on the level of, "My chemo dosage was increased and today sucks balls," and, "My medication side-effects are throwing me for a loop today, and I really just need to sleep." Yes, there are in fact some excuses that will stick.

I've also been submitting like crazy. I've got a story in the Tulsa Library contest, too, and I really hope it places. It's a story I've been fine-tuning for a while now, and I think it's my best work. It's the only story I've ever written that genuinely makes me want to cry. Hopefully it'll see publication at some point.

Well, it's chemo day, and I've been WAY too active today, so I'm going to take a nap. This has been my most recent update. Hopefully, they'll soon get more frequent and more positive.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Actual Writing Content!

Currently, I'm in a battle with myself. This is nothing new--it's been going on for 33 years this Wednesday--but the situation has taken a somewhat grave turn. My elbows are so arthritic they're damaging my nerves. It's being treated more slowly than I'd like, but it's being treated. Even now I'm waiting for a call from my pain specialist's office regarding the next step.

The upside of this, of course, is that I'm writing (or at least rewriting) like a mofo.

Because I can't really type for more than maybe up to an hour at a time right now, I'm looking through my backlog of short stories, fixing or finishing them, and sending them out for consideration. It's nice to get back into that; I'd stopped for a long time due to time limitations and health issues. I've gone through most of the shorter ones and sent them out to potential homes (hoping like hell here), gotten two rejections so far, hoping for a sale before too hideously much longer, and decided to cut a 48,000-word short novel down to a 25,000-word novella so I might submit it to more places. Because I'm crazy that way. I don't want to lengthen it into a real novel right now, so I'll hack it into pieces. Yay, the joys of being me.

My hands are hurting, so I'm going to give them some downtime. I think the length and breadth of this is a public announcement that, yes, I'm still writing. It's not as long or much as I'd like, but I'm doing it all the same. Hopefully, medical science will make it possible for me to start spending four hours at a keyboard again within the year. As things stand, I'll take being able to eat without dropping it all over myself. (There are reasons I don't wear white shirts.)

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Helpful Holiday Hints

So today, whilst waiting for my car to be lubed, oiled, and filtered (and shoed--the last original tire was shot), I was subjected to daytime TV. A strange show called Dr. Oz was running a segment on How Not To Poison Your Holiday Guests. His hints were helpful: don't feed guests raw eggs, avoid cross-contamination, etc. However, I feel he left out some salient points.

1. Lead crystal should be clear, not opaque, gray, and easily melted if left by the stove. (If you're serving chilled heavy water alongside the wine, feel free to ignore this advice.)
2. Broccoli and rice casserole is good. Broccoli and ricin casserole is good if you're Jim Jones.
3. Green dye or not, arsenic is not a good all-natural candy additive.
4. Just because it smells like almonds doesn't make it marzipan.
5. Though grenades are colloquially referred to as "potatoes" in some regions, turning them into latkes is not recommended.
6. Though they both belong to the Fungi kingdom, Aspergillus is not a suitable substitute for yeast. Similarly, death cap mushrooms may be attractive, but their culinary uses are limited.
7. Italian Cooking with Cesare Borgia should probably remain on the shelf.
8. Do not, I repeat, do not attempt to share a meal made with the Yersinia pestis Yogurt Kit.
9. Wash out the lye before you serve the lutefisk.
10. Despite the charming and artistic effect, silver candy balls should rarely, if ever, be replaced with mercury.

Follow these simple rules, and your guests will be joyful and breathing. Happy Holidays, folks!

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Quick thought on American society

This will be brief, as I just took my chemo and expect to be woozy and useless in a few minutes.

Something I've noticed about American society--and something I don't necessarily agree with--is that, as a culture, we value potential more than anything else. The starkest point I've noticed is that, when a child dies, it's treated as the ultimate tragedy; on the other hand, if someone elderly dies, it passes with resolution and sometimes a sense of relief. (I understand relief if the person suffered from some prolonged illness, like Alzheimer's or severe arthritis. That's not what this comment is about. That same relief can be applied to a younger person.) What is the greatest commodity lost if a child dies? The potential to be something great. However, when someone in their 80s or such dies, with them goes a bounty of knowledge and experience.

I've thought about this off and on for a long time, but recently, I had the privilege to talk to a woman just short of her 97th birthday, who has been sewing since she was a small girl. She's been sewing, a learned and valuable skill, for nearly a century. How often do you meet someone who's been doing something, anything (apart from, say, breathing), for very close to a hundred years? There is so much to learn from her, and so much fulfillment. Potential just doesn't come close.

Feel free to disagree with me. This is just how I see the world. YMMV.

I feel chemo brain setting in. Time to let my IQ drop by half in private.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Frustration is a frustrating mistress.

I'm frustrated right now. It's taking WAY too long to get a copyedited ms back from Yon Agent, and I'm starting to fear that it'll never get published. It's a tough sell to start with, but it's got to be ready to go. I'm supposed to be working on other books, but, I dunno. I have no time, my energy is all wrapped up in other projects (nearly finished, thank Elvis), and I'm generally just ready to rip my hair out and scream.

Compounding this is a medically necessary decision to get healthier. I've started seeing a pain specialist, and she told me to start exercising regularly or else. My weight isn't good for my joints OR muscles, both of which are damaged by SLE and/or FMS, and I need to simply move more. Hence, I've joined a gym near my day job. It's a nice place with a varied clientèle, one of my best friends is a member, and a few of my coworkers joined, so I've got people to work out with. I feel better for it and (an increase in my Lyrica dosage), but, well, my diet has to change, too. Aye, there's the rub.

I was vegan for seven years. Apart from a general lack of EFA's, it was the best eating plan for my body, and it worked wonders on my health AND my weight. (For me, a US size 10 is scrawny. I have a frame like a linebacker and the muscles to match. If I were an athlete, I'd totally be a power lifter.) Wasband (the ex) pressured me to relax to lacto-ovo/pescetarianism. The added fish was a good thing, and the eggs were neutral. The milk, though.... Cow's milk does a number on me. We don't know why, but it makes me hurt liek woah and feel like I'm thinking through wet cotton. Hence, I'm moving to primary veganism, which means that I'll occasionally hit the sushi bar or order an omelet when I'm out.

I'm on day three. My body is fiercely unhappy. Veganism is often a low-fat diet, and my body demands fat. Not saturated, but mono- and polyunsaturated. I could probably live on avocados, given my weird metabolism. Alas, I have very little vegan fat in the house, and I'm not about to chug a bottle of olive oil. Part of me is simply pondering the possibility of a parve diet--vegetables, grains, legumes, fruit, eggs, and fish (plus shellfish, 'cause I'm totally not kosher), but no dairy or meat. I might end up relaxing to that at some point in future. For now, though, I'm mostly vegan.

Blah. Going to lay down with I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings for a while. I'm just past the part where Daddy Clidell's friends were teaching Maya/Marguerite how not to get taken, and the long con with the jerk in Tulsa. I can't help but think that, given their target, that group of men were a collective Robin Hood. Granted, they didn't say anything about giving to the poor, but they certainly showed a racist twit the other end of the con game.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Quick Post

Just a quick heads up (again) to say that I'm still alive. RL is going well--I'm happy in my personal life for the first time in many, many years, and my gallbladder (aka The Beast) is now floating in a jar of formaldehyde somewhere--and I'm hoping to formally get writing back on track again soon.

It's still suffering somewhat from the upset my life took in February. However, I've been meeting people in the profession, and I'm actually working with a good friend from Texas, helping him copy-edit a nonfiction book, which is pretty kickass. There's nothing in it save thanks and maybe a professional leg up (and, I'm promised, a roof and a bed whenever I'm out that way), but I enjoy the work and I very much enjoy the chance to work with someone like this. (Colleen, Linda, you know who I'm talking about.)

On the actual writing front, the book should be ready to market within a month or two, Elvis willing, and I'm finally revamping a novelette that's in dire need of attention. It's got a lot of potential, but it needs serious work. At least I've got people who can help me with the finer aspects of librarianship. (I not-so-secretly refer to the story as my librarians-as-gods story. You have no idea how happy this makes the librarians in my life.) Other than that, I'm just working on getting properly geared up again. No idea what I'll be doing or where I'll be ten years from now, but I'll be writing. Unless I've kicked it, which probably means I won't be doing much of anything. :P

Am loosely playing with the idea of going back to school for Fashion Design, of all things. It's something I'd enjoy, though, and there's no way in HELL I could stand four years of academics. Let me get my hands on something, and I'll be happy as a clam in silt. And if there's one thing I know my way around, it's a sewing machine.

Erk. Is midnight. I'm due up in seven hours. First day back post-op. Wish me luck!

Friday, June 12, 2009

Still alive.

Sorry for the extended blackout period. The last few weeks have been far too exciting. This excitement has included:

- Gallbladder FAIL. Little bastard is still installed, but I'm seeing a service tech in a few days.
- A week of teaching some awesome kids to sew. They did a great job, and much fun was had.
- Deciding that I'm just about ready to start dating again. There are some interesting people out there. That's not always a compliment.
- Not enough writing, though I've got my FINAL EVER Writers of the Future entry ready to be mailed. Final, that is, unless my RoF publication date is pushed back again.
- Neil Gaiman is off the market. This seems to be huge news on the Internets. Eh, I'm just happy for him and Miss AFP, and I hope my luck is as good as theirs was.
- A neck rash. Yes, a neck rash. I tried to see if shorts + sunblock = jeans in the coverage department, and, yeah. WTF, immune system?

Gotta jet in a minute. Things to do tonight, and I need to start getting them done. Will post again soon, promise!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


I got caught up in reading and forgot I'm supposed to be editing and making notes. I'm not sure if that's a good sign or not.