|A Round of Words in 80 Days|
Round 2 2013
The writing challenge that
knows you have a life
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 round 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.
Note the one loan Y in FICTION FILES. First in a long time. I earned it twice in one day. Once by playing with the mindmap of the storyworld after updating my Xmind ap and the second by referring to my files to choose a story for JuNoWriMo when I signed up Friday. I liked the feeling. I want more.
Note: I broke this up into themed sections to make updating easier. Since so much has changed in the last month I wiped most of the old stuff from the Lifequake and Self-Management sections for the 89th check-in and then added some new pics to the workstation section.
Self Management--for 91st check-in only new material is in this section
Evolution of the workstations
|Ed and I April 2nd|
5 minutes before leaving
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.
The latest in the series of aftershocks disrupted things so much I had to drop out of ROW80 check-ins for a month. I left Mom's in Longview WA April 29 to spend the next 11 days in Phoenix OR with my husband packing up the rest of our stuff and helping him prepare for vacating the house on the 15th. My sister returned here with a third van load of my stuff on May 2nd and then picked me and a forth van load up on the 10th. I spent the next two days shuffling boxes and bags and stuff around between van and house and my areas at Mom's. The four days after that I wallowed in the pain of missing Ed, loosing our house and not knowing when the next visit will be now that there are no more loads to go after and no house to call ours.
He has started to regain the weight he lost while he was sick this winter. During our last trip in early April my sister took him to the vet and the following week he had surgery to remove rotten teeth and fix his eyelids so his lashes would stop scratching his eyes. He looks oriental now. The pic is from several years ago when he was still healthy.
When I first arrived in January I had about ten hangers hanging in this closet and now there are two winter coats in there belonging to Mom and everything else is mine. My coats, sweaters, jackets and vests are hanging on hooks on the door to the room.
Since 89th check-in I've continued to unpack and tweak every area. One of my projects is to unpack every one of the hastily packed boxes and do the sorting, organizing, cleaning, repair etc that there was no time for before stuffing things in boxes. Then I'll repack the household stuff and keep those boxes together in anticipation of the first load gong back as soon as Ed is able to move into another place.
|Reading and crafting corner|
The pic to the left is new for 90th check-in, reflecting the latest tweaks. One of which was switching out the office chair that was there for the exercise ball. The office chair is now where the exercise ball was--at one of the workstations in the other room which are discussed in the next section. The empty shelf is reserved for library books which I hope to be acquiring again soon.
One of her concerns about leaving me there for a whole week was the tenuous nature of my ability to stay on my med schedule, sleep schedule and food and water intake schedule without outside monitoring. That is one of the repercussions of an unmanaged mood-disorder.
She had a heart-to-heart with Ed about it in my presence and they elicited solemn promises from me and helped me work out how I might keep on track even on those days when Ed had to work. The timer coupled with the ritual of writing a todo list every morning was the solution and I stuck to it through the first weekend back at Mom's. I still maintain the med timer and sleep schedule but I let the todo list drop away during the week I wallowed and have not returned to it.
On Saturday, May 25, I blew it. First by not sleeping until dawn and then by turning off the med alarm at noon and resetting it in my sleep apparently and then sleeping until 3pm. I almost missed the scheduled text chat with Ed who had been waiting in the park next to the library in Phoenix for over an hour for me to show up on Gmail. But it was one of the best sleeps I've had in months.
The week before I left the med nurse had added Ritalin to my day meds to address the issue that makes it so hard for me to maintain the healthy sleep schedule. The fear that all those 24 to 48 hours and more awake were a symptom of bi-polar has been nearly eliminated and we are leaning toward the theory that its a combination of anxiety and ADD. With anxiety causing difficulty in getting, staying and returning to sleep and the ADD responsible for the way my brain won't turn back on for 8 to 12 hours after I've slept for over 6 hours which makes me resist sleep when I'm involved in a task or project.
The Ritalin has been a failure and my sister and husband concur. It did help turn my brain on and give me energy earlier in the day but it also brought back the anxiety that the BP med Metoprolol had removed and left me with lower tolerance for frustration, high irritability and a tendency to meltdown. And after four hours I crashed. It felt a lot like when I used to drink caffeinated sodas and would crash off the sugar and caffeine.
In other words it put me in a volatile emotional cauldron. I stopped taking it every day. I've discovered that it is helpful if what I need to do is primarily physical with little social or emotional elements to it. Like the unpacking, workouts, or showers. But it is useless for brain work that entails sitting still like writing or reading. And only 4 hours? Really?
I saw the med nurse again today, May 28th. She increased the Trazadone to 300mg and added Adderall to address the morning mush brain and low energy. But if I experience a similar reaction as to the Ritalin I am to call and she'll put me on Welbutrin again, which was what I was on before we lost our insurance a year ago.
Tomorrow I'm going in for a fasting blood draw to check the levels of things related to energy and fatigue like thyroid, adrenals, blood sugars, vitamin B and D, and etc This was something that I asked for when I saw the other nurse who is managing my care last week. Bit step for me--self advocating, being the one to suggest a course of action. If I was dealing with a doctor instead of a nurse practitioner I might not have had the courage. Tho my sister who is officially my advocate might have anyway. She is bold she is.
Meanwhile there have been enough improvements in my ability to function that I've been able to commit to making and serving lunch for me and Mom every day and load the dishwasher after dinner.
Yeah. It was once that bad!
On Thursday May 16th I began to crawl out of the wallow I fell into the morning I said goodbye to Ed and this week I've returned to posting on the meatier reading and writing themes. I'm hoping that by this time next week I will have been able to garner some Ys in the FICTION FILES column. I've had some really stimulating ideas as I daydreamed stories in the last month. Not all of them are in the FOS storyworld either. My newer story ideas seem to be leaning toward romances which is not my usual fare. Hmmm. I wonder where they're coming from.
Friday night I posted about signing up for JuNoWriMo. Hope I handle it better than I did Camp NaNo in April. Am going to give one of those love stories a go.
I decided Friday that the workstation I'd been spending most of my time at since returning to Mom's was not working. I'd gravitated to sitting on the mini-tramp that first weekend because there was so much upheaval everywhere else. But that had unwanted repercussions--I stopped working out because the tramp was always piled with cushions and for some reason I can't pin down my productivity dropped both on and off the computer. Maybe that is partly due to not working out. But it might also be because the setup was more conducive to daydreaming, watching videos or surfing than serious work. The clue is in the caption I gave the pic in the next section last check-in: Looks more like a nest.
So Saturday's project aimed to fix that. As discussed below with yet a new pic of yet another major tweak.
And then that didn't quite satisfy so last night I tore it all out and rearranged it yet again but no pic tonight as I'm running out of time. Have to start fasting soon and have to have food to take meds so that puts me in a bind.
Tomorrow afternoon I am having the eye exam to establish the status of my eye disease for social services and my application to get back on SSI. Which, with the fasting blood draw first thing in the morning, makes for a very big day for me so I'm cutting myself some slack.
But I have high hopes for getting some serious fiction file work done on Thursday and also intend to return to the free write regimen again by Thursday if not tomorrow. Now that I've got this workstation working well enough that I can sit fairly comfortably for more than an hour at a stretch there is really no more excuses.
I sometimes get so frustrated by all the tweaking. It seems I spend more time fiddling with the workstations than I do actually working at them. I hope I can shift the balance soon. Meanwhile I'm trying to learn patience with myself and flexibility. One of the new skills I'm honing is the ability to analyse what is working and what isn't and then apply a likely fix and observe what does and doesn't result. I'm trying to keep a vision of what success looks like in my head so that I'm always aiming for it.
The evolution of the writing and workout room:
|2nd Workstation and |
Indoor Workout Space
The time best suited was the hours immediately after Mom heads to bed. The space was trickier. But the best bet was somewhere in the room that had once been Mom's office and had become a storage room. So I rearranged some boxes and created a desk in a cubby behind the stairwell. I was even able to set up the mini-tramp in there. Tho I had to walk across it to get to my desk, I liked having it there until I fell twice inside a week.
Sunday I set my mind to being careful but after the second fall the following Friday I realized careful would not cut it. Not indefinitely. Not for someone visually impaired and with such a history of scattered thought and impulsive movement.
After a third incident--a close call--my sister set the tramp on end. But as I feared it seldom got set down for use after that. I kept wanting to find the time and energy to rearrange the stuff again to make room for the tramp and a path to my desk. That became one of the goals as I worked to make room for the stuff coming in from the van the first week of April.
The reference books are now on that cabinet above the tramp. The 1999 World Book set and the Britannica Great Books set I bought from the library in 2005. And writing related misc.
|Cubby desk May 25|
So today, May 25th, I've moved the office chair I'd been using beside the bed in Mom's room in here and the exercise ball in there. It is a tight fit but I'm test driving it as I work on this post and I am sensing a shift in consciousness. It feels like a place to get work done at now. I'm more focused on the task at hand. I'm shifting about less. I haven't had to get up to get something that isn't at hand. But a crick in my neck indicates one minor tweak might be needed--raising the desk about two inches.
Let's see if this leads to regaining all those Ys now.
|standing desk May 21|
|Looks more like a nest|
For the last two weeks (May 11-24) this was my primary writing and Internet surfing station. I also crocheted while watching videos and sometimes read either ebooks or treebooks. The tramp in this pic is now my own brought from home. But as I discussed above, this wasn't working for serious writing.
Once he knocked my netbook off the desk. I had an extreme moment of panic before I got it picked up and checked over.
I do hope that once Merlin is allowed to join the family the two of them can entertain each other. So far it looks good. They talk to each other through the laundry room door. And once when I brought Merlin up on his leash on our way out for his yard exploration they met and touched noses and nobody hissed. Bradley did raise one paw over Merlin's head and held it there until Merlin ducked his head and slunk away.
My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs
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.
Synopsis: Lor and Bull Teller, married for over two decades, are about to discover the power of story to either create or destroy when a disturbing accusation lands tall-tale-teller Bull in jail where suddenly he has nothing to say just as Lor, author of evangelical children's stories witnesses something that tangles and then snaps the tether of her faith leaving her afloat on a sea of mystery which often feels like insanity.
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 In late February I lifted the strikethru I put on this the week I left home in January as I brought it back with me on the 22nd.
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 January and has been the one I've spent the most time with ever since. Friday's post was a quote post for this one.
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. Also a Longview library book.
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.
The Complete Idiot's Guide to Writing Erotic Romance by Alison Kent. Found on my shelves while packing books. I won this in a drawing during the Sweating for Sven writing challenge in 2007. It made me blush and I kept it hidden in the recesses of my bookshelves but I think I've gotten over that. Tho I admit it is hard to pull it out and read in it now that I'm back at Mom's. But since Valentine's Week all my new story ideas have been for romances. Not my usual thing. But hey, you gotta take what the muse sends or she'll stop sending. Setting aside the erotica aspects, this book is full of good story structure advice as well as romance genre specific advice. I'm exploring the idea of writing a love story. Hmmm. Not sure who that is that just said that.
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.