Tuesday, March 19, 2013

79th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 1 2013

The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life
My goals are all time investment and are detailed on the  ROW80 page   I keep track of the time invested with a Google Doc spreadsheet linked on the goals page and also in each check-in along with a screenshot of the most recent days.

These check-in posts will contain any commentary I have about encounters with the goals since the previous check-in and any relevant links.

Below the commentary is my current reading list for the READ CRAFT goal.


Last month I finished the edit for Blow Me A Candy Kiss, the short story I'm planning to use as the experiment in self publishing.  This was on my original Goals when I first joined ROW80 last April.  It is now ready for beta readers.   Anyone interested can say so in a comment or email me at the email in the sidebar.  A link to an earlier draft can be found in the ROW80 Goals page linked under the spreadsheet below.



I've got my Ys back on the spreadsheet a week ago and hung onto them in spite of last Sunday's fall and last Tuesday's brain hangnail and Friday's fall and this past Saturday's anxiety attack.

Note: much of the following is preserved from previous check-ins with minor edits, some rearranging and a few expansions and updates. The bold indicates new either this check-in or last.   It just didn't make sense to me to write a post from scratch when most of the issues remain the same.

My moods are still volatile but better by far than early February.  For the most part of most days I'm accommodating myself to the new realities shaking out from the lifequake that hit me the last week of January.   The details of which are covered in ROW80 #69 check-in. and  this Sunday Serenity I won't keep reiterating the story in these check-ins.  The most important fact affecting ROW80 goals is that my 5 week visit at my Mom's begun in early January has been extended indefinitely.  It has been a huge disruption in itself not counting all the disruptions of life, thought and emotion behind the whys and wherefores.

New News on this front:  Our landlord in Phoenix has decided to sell the trailer and has asked Ed to vacate by May 15.  Which means there will be no home for me to go home to once my disability status is re-established so my medical needs are assured.  So everything is even more up in the air than it was.  It is hard to see into the future clearly enough to reach for anything solid.

OK.  Confession.  I've been averaging 2 to 4 hours per day on 2 to 5K word emails to my husband.  I'm trying to decide how this impacts ROW80 goals, weigh the cost/benefit to the long distance relationship goals vs the fiction writing goals and the selfpub goals.  It is writing afterall and it seems that my words are flowing better everywhere else from posting to freewrite to notes and sketches in FICTION FILES totaling between them 5 to 10K of words per day.  So there may be some benefit bleeding off the email writing onto all the other writing.  Especially since so much of what is on my mind is the same stuff on my character's mind (see below re Storyteller's Spouse) But if our separation lasts for months as it is shaping up for I may have to take another look at this issue next round.

2nd Workstation and
Indoor Workout Space
When I set up my new workstation in what had become a household flotsam and jetsam room, I made room for the mini-tramp which is my favorite MOVE activity and I love having it so near the writing station even if it does mean I have to walk across it to get in and out of my cubby behind the stairwell.  I've especially appreciated it since I made my station easily transformable into a standing desk as I can just step over onto the tramp when I'm feeling restless.  I find it helps me to think.

But after two falls inside a week the pressure is on to move it.

After the first fall a week ago Sunday I set my mind to being careful but after the second fall on Friday I realized careful is not going to cut it.  Not indefinitely.  Not for someone visually impaired and with such a history of scattered thought and impulsive movement.

So the question now is when can I make time for completely rearranging the boxes of stuff to make room for the tramp without blocking the path.  I resent needing to take this time away from the writing that is heating up for me but I won't be doing the writing any favors if I break something.

Tramp's still in place as the first half of this week has been about appointments at the clinic and social services.  The med nurse yesterday and psyche eval for disability application tomorrow.

The good news on that front is the med nurse isn't convinced I'm bi-polar tho she isn't ruling it out.  For now she is calling it 'unspecified episodic mood disorder'.  She said my history of my moods and med reactions tied her brain in knots. But it is possible that the combination of anxiety and ADD might be mimicking mania.  I'm not diagnosed with ADD but there is family history of it and not of the bi-polar.

Because of past bad reactions to meds, and because of so many variables she wants to go slow adding or subtracting one thing at a time and taking the dosage up slow.  She began by repurposing the Trazadone that had been prescribed as an 'as needed' sleep aide to its other use as anti-depressant by doubling it and making it daily.  I had the best sleep in months last night followed by a day in which the anxiety was so low I almost felt like I was missing something essential like a tooth or limb.


Last Tuesday I woke up in a mood that I likened to having a brain hangnail.  Or sunburn.

Irritable much?

Saturday I had a major anxiety attack while shopping for thread in a craft store.  Later I was able to trace it's triggers and roots which will help me see it coming soon next time and maybe nip it in the bud.  I can hope.  I told the story in the last check-in.

Today a week out from the day I felt l had a sunburn on the inside of my skull, I experienced one of the best mood days I can remember in years.  I even asked myself at one point if this was what happy felt like.  But how could I be happy with my husband 500 miles away, about to be evicted, and no solution in sight?  And yet....

Because of my extended stay here I couldn't continue to put off getting serious with my fiction writing until I got home so I had to address the space, quiet, privacy and fear of interruption issues by setting up a second workstation not in the room I share with Mom and dedicating late evenings and part of the weekends Mom spends at my brother's to FICTION FILES.  To make them available I'm supposed to be getting my posts prepped earlier in the day.  Have yet to establish that habit.  Progress.  Not every day but more than half in the last ten days!!

How many times have I had to confess that last?  Umm don't want to count.  Now that the essentials of organizing and moving around of stuff have been tended to it is time to make this the focus of the rest of the month.....  DONE I think.  If I can hang onto to the 50%+ and add to it.


My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs 
Meanwhile I have selected my 2006 NaNoWriMo novel, The Storyteller's Spouse, to give the bulk of my attention to for the duration of this extended stay at Mom's for the same reasons that I started it in the first place:  Story is the way I think and when I need to process something terribly complex and emotionally overwhelming I often start playing with the what ifs and the people involved and the themes in the same way I do with a novel or short story.  Because of the unusually autobiographical nature of this story I'd never returned to it after NaNo that year but many of the same issues are active in this current lifequake so what better time than now to get this one back out?  It had therapeutic value before and probably will again.

The Storyteller's Spouse is also an exploration of story itself and features a married couple the female lead being a novelist and her husband a raconteur with a rep for tall tales, fish stories and war stories and life of the party yarns.  Neither of them have an especially good grip on reality so their POV scenes are exercises in unreliable narrator.




READ CRAFT:

Currently Reading

What to Do When There's Too Much to Do by Laura Stack (Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list)
Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published)  
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller  Net Galley a NF that purports to answer many puzzles in the Austen novels. Since this discusses writing and techniques of fiction
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff  I just lifted the strikethru I put on this the week I left home in January as I brought it back with me this week
Jung and the Tarot: An Archetypal Journey by Sallie Nichols Since I'm reading this for an understanding of character type and the language of symbol understood by our unconscious as well as research for a character who is a Tarot reader
13 Ways of Looking at a Novel by Jane Smiley  This was one of the 24 items I checked out of the Longview library on my sister's card last Thursday.
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.  Found this while spelunking the stacks looking for the Smiley book.  Who knew.  Dick was a mystic.  I've only read one of his novels and a few short stories but now I've got to try to find and read everything!
Mystery and Manners by Flannery O'Connor  This is a reread for me and has had significant impact on the development of my storyworld in the early months of its inception.  My Friday post was about my current encounter with it after checking it out of the Longview library again for the first time in over a decade.
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf  Review for blog tour  Haven't finished it yet tho so it will remain in the list.

Recently Read:

A Cheap and Easy Guide to Self-publishing eBooks by Tom Hua read this online
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg  Just finished this last fall and wrote an overview of it for that check-in along with my musings on how to apply what I learned..  This is where I've been getting the most help with learning how to recognize a habit, determine if it is desirable and if so maximize it but if not change it.




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