Sunday, March 31, 2013

Sunday Serenity #330

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I'm having the best Bunny day ever just hanging with my honey.

well there is the little matter of having to start packing my books and crafts into boxes and dismantle my office...

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Saturday, March 30, 2013

Riding High

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My sister and I arrived in Phoenix OR at six PM this evening.  Ed had the BBQ all ready to go and the fixings for the cheeseburgers all laid out on the kitchen counter.  He seriously outdid himself this time.  Home mad guacamole!  I didn't even use mayo in order to make room for more guacamole.   Mmmmmmmm.

I'm exhausted having had less than three hours of sleep last night and less than six almost every night for a week.  I think I can sleep.  Maybe.  Still riding so high though.

But with my sister sleeping in my office at one end of the trailer and Ed asleep in the bedroom at the other end there is nowhere for me to do much of anything without disturbing someone.  I'm standing at the kitchen counter with only the light from stove hood and trying not to clickity-clack the keys too much which means slowing down my typing to a crawl.

It's time to take my night meds tho and I'm sure the Trazadone will bring me down within range of the Sandman.  Besides after more than a month away there is nowhere I'd rather be than laying beside Ed listening to him snore.  Sleep or no.  And I get at least two nights with him this trip.

Tomorrow will be busy with heavy-duty packing so I really hope I'm able to surrender to sleep.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Friday Forays in Fiction: Quote

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Excuse me for putting up a lazy post tonight.  I'm preparing for a trip down to Phoenix OR to see my husband and pack up my office and closet. My sister and I are planning to leave here by 9am and I'm not packed yet.

I found this Jennifer Weiner quote on Goodreads and loved it.  It makes want to read one of her novels now.  And I think I might have one on my TBR shelf at home.  If so I will be sure to pack it in one of the boxes that stay upstairs with me here and not in one that gets sent to the basement to wait for when Ed and I find a way to have our own place again.  If not, there is always the next trip to the library.

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Thursday, March 28, 2013

Brooding

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I'm having one of those days.  Hazy.  Daydreamy.  On the edge of mellow but dipping towards gloomy.

Brooding is about right.  Especially in light of something I read recently about broody hens who stop laying eggs because they become intent on their efforts to hatch a batch of unfertilized eggs.  Sometimes when I get like this it can be the precursor to a creative breakthrough.  Other times it is the vestibule of melancholy.

I'm hoping for the former.

Two days ago I was eagerly anticipating this weekends trip down to Phoenix OR to see my husband and pack up my books, crafts, clothes as he has to vacate by May 15.  Now instead of focusing exclusively on how great it will be to see him and spend a couple nights with him, I'm already anticipating next week when I'll be back here at Mom's 500 miles away.

It didn't help that the trip got postponed from Friday to Saturday.  Something I learned just before going to bed last night.  Nor did it help when I heard today of another woman with visual impairment for whom the process of getting back on disability took over nine months.  I had it in my head that it should be faster than the first time not longer and my hopes were pinned on the end of summer at the latest.

My imagination is just refusing to accommodate the concept of this limbo being that prolonged.

It seems like every time I think I'm adjusting to the new realities created by my recent lifequake there is another aftershock to throw everything into a jumble again.

At times like this I feel like a fraud with a name that has to be a cosmic joke.

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Wednesday, March 27, 2013

81st 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  couple weeks ago and hung onto them in spite of the many continuing aftershocks stemming from the late January lifequake.

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.

I'm late getting this up and have pressing obligations so I'm not going to make many changes to this template copy/pasted over from last check-in.  Not much has changed anyway.  Besides this paragraph and any following shown in bold the spreadsheet screenshot is updated and the picture next to this paragraph is new.  Taken by my sister Jamie on her visit last Thursday, it shows me at work in my new workstation and the upended tramp is visible in lower right corner.  The story of the workstation and the tramp are below.

The latest on the lifequake front: my sister and I are planning another trip down to Phoenix OR this weekend to pack up the rest of my stuff and get as much as we can into the van.  We may have to make another trip to load up again before the date my husband is required to vacate.  We expect this to take most if not all of the weekend.  We're leaving Longview on Friday.  Needless to say, I'm looking forward to spending time with my husband as well.

On the writing front I have signed up for the April Camp Nano.  They have made the goals flexible so it doesn't have to be a novel nor have to be 50K words. I haven't decided what my goals will be and establish them along with the ROW80 Round 2 goals next week. But I did use the sign up as occasion to create a much needed synopsis for The Storyteller's Spouse which you can find near the bottom of this post.  

They have even set up a 'cabin' of script writers at Camp Nano to give a space to those feeling deprived of the discontinued Scriptfrenzy.  Which might apply to me.  I'd been participating since 2009 and had yet to 'win' one.  I think the best I did was 30 odd pages in an adaptation of one of my short stories.  I was treating the April Scriptfrenzy as an exercise in stretching my writing comfort zone and as an opportunity to study a new aspect of writing craft.  And an excuse to watch a lot of video.  :)  I admit I did more reading than writing during April often having over 20 books on screenwriting and film checked out of the library as well as actual scripts and several DVD per week.  I can't afford to go to such extremes this year but am considering keeping the April=Sriptwriting alive in some fashion.

On the mood front: I've had zero 24 hours awake since the med nurse upgraded my Trazadone from occasional sleep aide to anti-depressant a week ago Monday.  A few times I still slept less than four hours on a given night but I always slept.  Since then my anxiety and irritability levels have dropped so low I often can't find them when looking for them.  So I'm thinking they were directly related to sleep deprivation in a devilish feedback loop.  Energy is increasing but not as fast as I'd like nor as dependably.  And it frustrates me that my brain won't come back online for hours after waking which makes it hard to give over to sleep when it is time to take my meds and I'm still going strong on some writing, reading or crafting project.  I do anyway tho often an hour or more late as I struggle to prioritize making healthy choices.  


Other 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 Monday 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.



Helping my mood dramatically was the Skype session Ed and I had on Sunday after we each installed the program.  It so beats email dialog that often has over 12 hour lags between turns!!!  We are both camera shy so it was a huge thing for us.  I got to see and talk to our Merlin too and Ed and I agreed he will come back with me this weekend so whatever Ed has to do before May 15 is not hampered by concerns for him.

My moods are still less 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.

Our landlord in Phoenix, OR has decided to sell the trailer and has asked Ed to vacate by May 15.  Then a week later he asked Ed to consider May 1st but he can't insist and Ed can't promise.  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 several emails to my husband where at least one is from 2 to 5K words.  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 after all 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(emails and all) 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.

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My Wednesday post last week (not the check-in which I usually put up late on Tuesday) described how the weight of all the WIP in reading, writing, crafting, and other things on my endless todo lists has been nearly paralyzing me.  Something has to give.  But what and how do I choose?  I'm hoping the skills I've learned via ROW80 will serve me as I apply them across the board to other areas of my life.

I realized early in February that 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 2 weeks!!

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.


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 loved having it so near the writing station even if it does did mean walking across it to get in and out of my cubby behind the stairwell.  I especially appreciated it after I made my station easily transformable into a standing desk as I can could just step over onto the tramp when feeling restless.  It helped me to think.

But after two falls inside a week the pressure was on to move it.  And this last Thursday my sister stood it up on end against the boxes on the right when she was in here visiting and I confessed that the night before I'd had a close call after sitting at the netbook reading too long as I waited for my night meds to kick in and then being surprised by how seriously they kicked in.

As I feared, I've did not set it back down even once since until this past Monday and not again since tho the day is still young.  I've given myself credit on MOVE for other activities but I really miss the ease with which I'd been stepping onto the tramp and moving on it for several minutes several times a day.

After the first fall 3 weeks ago on 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. So the question became when can I make time for completely rearranging the boxes of stuff to make room for the tramp without blocking the path.   UGH.



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.

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.


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)  What with the lifequake and all I've had to do a lot of reassessing.  Recently I realized that my todo lists are way overloaded even for someone with a reasonably quakeless life.
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.

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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Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I Guess So!

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I completely and totally lost track of time.  Something I seem to be so talented at.  In the past I would have still spent an hour or two or even more on putting together a post.  Now my priorities have shifted.  My health must come first and that means when it is time to take my night meds and go to bed, it's time and that's that.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

It's Monday! What are You Reading?

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?
Share what you (are, have been, are about to, hope to be) reading or reviewing this week. Sign Mr Linky at Book Journey and visit other Monday reading roundups.

The sections of this template:

Intro (here)
My Week in Review (list of books finished and links to bookish posts in the previous week)
Reading Now (my current reading list broken up into NF and Fiction)
Upcoming (scheduled reviews and blog tours and list of finished books awaiting reviews)
Recently (links to bookish posts in the last few weeks)
New Arrivals: (lists of recently acquired ARC broken up into snail mail, email and Net Gallery)
ARC in waiting (a list that is getting shamefully long)

My Week in Review:

Things on the reading front have been picking up as I continue adapting to the realities of the lifequake that hit me in late January which included doctor and social service appointments, getting my stuff organized and a new workstation created and broke in here at Mom's where I'm going to be for several more months.

Last week I participated in a blog tour:

Appearances and Other Stories by Margo Krasne
With these well crafted stories, Krasne creates a hall of mirrors as revelation after revelation of family secrets, hidden agendas and wounded psyches reflect back onto each other revealing how unreliable is perception and thus, ironically, how futile those efforts we invest in appearance.

And there were two post I think merit the label 'bookish' tho tangentially:

A Quote post collecting a few quotes from Jane Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking at a Novel which I'm currently reading fairly assiduously for my ROW80 goals.

And a post deliberating over my proliferating 2DO lists which of course include TBR--to be read, to be reviewed, and all those books with bookmarks already in as well as all my writing WIP.  There are just too many.  Somethings Got To Give.

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Finished reading:


Out to Caanan by Jan Karon  Book Four of the Mitford series.  Am reading this aloud to Mom in the evenings when she is here.  She often spends the weekends at my brother's home in Portland.

Appearances and Other Stories by Margo Krasne  blog tour Review Mar 21


Reading Now:

Non-Fiction:

Most of these I plug away in at a snail's pace--a couple pages or chapters per week or even every other week as that is my preferred way to read non-fic.  It sticks with me longer. I'm closing in on the finish line for several but as I get close on one I tend to add two or three more. There are some not listed here because I don't read in them weekly.

Hooked: Write Fiction That Grabs Readers at Page One and Never Lets Go by Les Edgerton (Part of my ROW80 reading in craft list)
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)
Write Good or Die! edited by Scott Nicholson (a collection of essays by inde authors.  many of them self-published)   ROW80 reading list
The Act of Creation by Arthur Koestler   ROW80 reading list
And So It Goes by Charles J. Sheilds a bio of Kurt Vonnegut.  (I've posted about this biography of Kurt Vonnegut several time in a kind of reading journal. It is past time for another.  Part of the fun I'm having reading this is in stopping to read the stories he wrote as the narrative reaches the point where he writes them. Since this is an author bio this will also be on my ROW80 reading list )
This Mobius Strip of Ifs by Mathias Freese (I've posted a reading journal post for this collection of personal essays also.  It is past time for another.)
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 tecniques of fiction I'll be adding this to my ROW80 reading list
Trust the Process: An Artist's Guide to Letting Go by Shaun McNiff So part of my ROW80 reading list. Have finally taken the strikethru off as I retrieved this from home Thursday
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 this will be on my ROW80 reading list
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.   ROW80 reading list
The Exegesis of Philip K. Dick.  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!   ROW80 reading list
Before You Say I Do Again by Benjamin Berkley  for Blog Tour Review Feb 8.  The review is up but I'm not finished.  This is a very difficult read for me at this time and irony of the events that fell on the same week I was scheduled to review this book did not escape me.
The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf  for an upcoming blog tour   ROW80 reading list
Choice Theory: A Psychology of Personal Freedom by William Glasser M.D. a library book
Essays by Ralph Waldo Emerson  I own this book.  Was rereading his essay on friendship this week
How We Decide by Jonah Lehrer
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.  This 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.   ROW80 reading list
The Right to Write by Julia Cameron   ROW80 reading list


OK Seriously.  It is now time to start knocking some of these NF off as I did for the fiction over the last couple of months.  By limiting my starts of new novels I guess I was just transferring my need for 'new' to the NF list and now I've got too many to give proper attention to in any two weeks.

That paragraph is kept intact from the last two IMWAYR? but I've at least not started anything new in non-fiction this past week. I've targeted several NF for daily or nearly daily attention that are either short or my bookmark is under 100 pages from the end.

Fiction:

A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness  (audio from library)  Was listening to this while working on this Xmas crochet project and have not gotten back to it since Christmas.  If I wait too much longer I'm going to have to restart it yet again.  Or at least back up a ways to reorient.
The Civilized World by Susi Wyss (another a Tree book ARC that got lost in the mix before I'd finished it.  Have not posted a review for this one either and can't remember when I received it but it had to be at least a year ago before I started packing for our move and likely before 2011 NaNo when I typically stop reading fiction while I'm so intensely writing it.  This is a collection of interlocking short stories set in South Africa and I remember I was quite enjoying it.  I've had to start it over.)
A New Song by Jan Karon.  The fifth Mitford book.  Am reading these aloud to Mom in the evenings.  We started this one Saturday.
Prophet of the Bones by Ted Kosmatka  sci-fi thriller.  This ARC arrived here at Mom's by snail mail a week ago.  I started it today.

Seriously.  I need to reinstate the rule of one novel at a time. --a line I wrote weeks ago when there were several more novels on that list and in the spirit of my New Year Resolve to finish more things than I start I've resisted starting any new fiction that isn't for a scheduled review and have been making steady gains in knocking titles off this list.  But not getting the review for them written unless I had a scheduled one--tsk tsk..  I have relaxed a bit and allowed new fiction starts.  And I can't, after deprive myself of starting a novel for myself because I'm reading a different one aloud to Mom and another one for a blog tour so I'll relax a bit on that.  A bit.

But I've really got to start writing the reviews!!  Seriously!

Upcoming:


___Blog Tours:


Defiant Heart by Marty Steere   on April 17th?

The Happiness Workbook by Jenn Flaa on April 24th?

Finding Lily by Lisa Ellis on May 21st


___Books I've Finished Awaiting Reviews:

Whenever I'm not pinned to a date like with the blog tours I do very poorly at getting reviews written in a timely way after finishing books and the longer I wait the harder it gets.  This is an issue I'm working on and hope to get a system in place to smooth the track from beginning book to posting review.  But that will mostly have to wait until I'm back home where my time is more my own.  This final week at Mom's and the first week or so I'm back at home are going to be full and unpredictable  So much for that theory.  So much for having anything like predictability anytime soon either.  So I guess that means I have to figure out how to solve this problem in spite of that issue or give up on it altogether.

At Home in Mitford and A Light in the Window by Jan Karon  (the ebook I was reading aloud to my Mom while staying there in March and April. These short little lighthearted chapters are almost like stand-alone short stories with beloved characters and make great bedtime reading for adults wanting pleasant dreams)
The Land of Decoration by Grace McClean
Imagine: How Creativity Works by Jonah Leher.
The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg   Part of my attempt to organize my life around my priorities. So part of my ROW80 reading list.   I discussed this in such detail in my mid-week ROW80 check-in post it was practically a review and I'll probably copy/paste much of what I said there into the review.
Never Give in to Fear by Marti MacGibbon  This was a NetGalley ARC but later I picked it up for Kindle when it was free on Amazon.  I began it in Adobe Digital Editions and when that timed out on me switched to the Kindle for PC.  This was a memoir of an addict's decent into the abyss and rise back out again and was quite engrossing.
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff  a library book
Get Your Loved One Sober by Robert Meyers (Research for a fiction WIP)

Losses by Robert Wexelblatt an ARC
After: The Shock by Scott Nicholson  This is post apocalyptic horror with zombies.    I anticipated enjoying this even tho zombies are not my favorite horror theme because I really enjoyed his The Red Church and I did but probably not to the same degree.  And its continued.
These High, Green Hills by Jan Karon  The third book in the Mitford series.  I'm reading this aloud to Mom in the evenings.  We had one chapter to go the night before my quick trip to Phoenix OR and we haven't got back to it yet.  She got back late from my brother's last night and tonight dinner was late and my sister and I were tied up with filling out forms online.  We will definitely be starting book four as soon as we finish this one.
Pie Town by Lynne Hinton
My Year as a Clown a novel by Robert Steven Williams  an ebook I got free at Bookbrowser and thus consider an ARC
Out to Caanan by Jan Karon  Book Four of the Mitford series.  Am reading this aloud to Mom in the evenings when she is here.  She often spends the weekends at my brother's home in Portland.



Recently:

___Reviews and Bookish Posts:



Creature Features by Tim Rowland  Review Mar 12 Tuesday

The Fiction Writer's Handbook by Shelly Lowenkopf  Review Mar 14 Thursday

The Tragedy Paper by Elizabeth LaBan for a Net Galley ARC I read on New Year's Day:



Against My Will by Benjamin Berkley Blog Tour Review  Feb 20  by the same author as Before You Say I Do Again 

The Eighth Wonder by Kimberly S. Young. Blog Tour Review

Before You Say I Do Again by Benjamin Berkley  Blog Tour Review 

Scammed by Art Maines   My blog tour review for this combination personal testimony and how-to manual for helping an elderly parent recover from the depredations of a scam and protect them from future exploitation.

Encounters with Flannery O'Connor










New Arrivals:

By snail mail:

The Abundance by Amit Majmudar  This was the first that I had sent to my Mom's address.  It arrived over a week ago now

Prophet of the Bones by Ted Kosmatka  sci-fi thriller.  This arrived here at Mom's a week ago.  I started it today.



By email:

nothing for a couple weeks now

from NetGalley
there were several I got access to but have not downloaded them yet so I won't count them here yet

ARC in waiting:

Tree Books:

Most of these I left  behind when I left home for the five week visit at Mom's in early January but now that the visit has been extended indefinitely I retrieved them on our February 21/22 trip down to Phoenix along with the rest of the things I foresee needing over the next couple months.

The Land of Decoration by Grace McClean  read this over a year ago now but still need to review.  It's an emotional block due to the nature of the story being so close to personal experience.  I need to get over it.
The Variations by John Donatich
The Inquisitor by Mark Allen Smith   My husband read this and loved it and is after me to read it so he can talk about it.
The Hunger Angel by Herta Muller  Nobel winner!!
Skios by Michael Frayn
How Should a Person Be? by Sheila Heti
The Sadness of the Samurai by Victor del Arbo
Me, Who Dove into the Heart of the World by Sabina Berman
Winter Journal by Paul Auster a memoir from an American literary figure that really excites me.
We Sinners by Hanna Pylvaine.   It's another story exploring the impact on family life of a fundamentalist religion.  One of the themes I'm drawn to like Pooh to honey.
Our Harsh Logic: Israeli Soldiers' Testimonies from the Occupied Territories, 2000-2010 compiled by The Organization Breaking the Silence
A Possible Life by Sebastian Faulks
Detroit City Is the Place to Be: The Afterlife of an american Metropolis by Mark Binelli
The Autobiography of Us
The Abundance by Amit Majmudar
Prophet of the Bones by Ted Kosmatka

Ebooks:

____By email:

After: The Shock by Scott Nicholson  have at least finished reading it now
Troubled by Scott Nicholson
Losses by Robert Wexelblatt  have read but not yet reviewed


____From Net Galley:


A Thousand Pardons by Jonathan Dee
What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Muller  have read but not yet reviewed
Never Give in to Fear by Marti MacGibbon  have read but not yet reviewed
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
Unloched by Candace Lemon-Scott
Sticks and Stones: Defeating the Culture of Bullying and Rediscovering the Power of Character and Empathy 
by Emily Bazelon
APE: Author, Publisher, Entrepreneur: How to Publish a Book by Guy Kawasaki and Shawn Welch
With or Without You A Memoir by Domenica Ruta  The 55 days ran out on me before I finished it.  Had actually barely started it so probably no review unless I find it in a library.
The Beautiful Thing That Awaits Us All by Laird Barron
The Book of Why by Nicholas Montemarano  The 55 days ran out on me before I got far so probably no review until I can find it in a library.  This is a direct result of the lifequake referred to at the beginning of the post.


If anyone reading this states a preference I may let it weigh my decision as to what I begin next from the above list.

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Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sunday Serenity #329

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My husband and I both created Skype accounts and installed the program and then got to spend an hour and a half visiting 'face to face' this evening.  This is our latest effort to alleviate the pain of this unwanted separation created by the lifequake that I keep alluding to here.  The details are  in ROW80 #69 check-in. and  this Sunday Serenity so I don't need to reiterate them here.

It was like being in the next room.  It's been hours since we signed off Skype and I'm still tripping over it.  I'm so grateful.  Thank you Skype!  This is going to make being over 500 miles apart more bearable.  Now that it is done I can't understand what took us so long.  Old fuddie-duddies we are.

My sister and I have plans to go down to pack up more of my stuff next weekend.  The only thing stopping us would be if one of the seven members of my brother's family get sick so Mom can't spend the weekend with them.  Depending on how much we can fit in the van, we may have to make a second trip before May 15 the date Ed has to vacate.

I guess we will be bringing back our cat Merlin this trip.  I got to 'visit' with Merlin today too.  LOL.

Oh, the posts linked above don't include the latest info about the landlord putting the trailer up for sale a couple weeks ago and giving Ed notice to vacate by May 15.  Then yesterday he asked if Ed could be out by May 1st.  I guess he had a potential buyer who wanted to take possession May 1st.  But apparently he can't insist.  On the other hand he and Ed have a friendship which puts Ed in a hard place.

It is hard not being able to see a clear picture of the future.  But it is going to be so much easier to muddle through being able to have face to face, real time conversations as events develop at both ends.  It was especially hard sitting with the new info regarding May 1st all night after Ed dropped it on me in an email just before he went to bed last night.


Read more...

Saturday, March 23, 2013

80th 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  couple weeks ago and hung onto them in spite of the many continuing aftershocks stemming from the late January lifequake.

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, OR has decided to sell the trailer and has asked Ed to vacate by May 15.  Today March 23 he revised that to May 1st.  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 several emails to my husband where at least one is from 2 to 5K words.  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 after all 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(emails and all) 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.

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My Wednesday post described how the weight of all the WIP in reading, writing, crafting, and other things on my endless todo lists has been nearly paralyzing me.  Something has to give.  But what and how do I choose?  I'm hoping the skills I've learned via ROW80 will serve me as I apply them across the board to other areas of my life.

I realized early in February that 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 2 weeks!!

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.


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 loved having it so near the writing station even if it does did mean walking across it to get in and out of my cubby behind the stairwell.  I especially appreciated it after I made my station easily transformable into a standing desk as I can could just step over onto the tramp when feeling restless.  It helped me to think.

But after two falls inside a week the pressure was on to move it.  And this last Thursday my sister stood it up on end against the boxes on the right when she was in here visiting and I confessed that the night before I'd had a close call after sitting at the netbook reading too long as I waited for my night meds to kick in and then being surprised by how seriously they kicked in.  

As I feared, I've not set it back down even once since.  I've given myself credit on MOVE for other activities but I really miss the ease with which I'd been stepping onto the tramp and moving on it for several minutes several times a day.

After the first fall 2 weeks ago on 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.

So the question became when can I make time for completely rearranging the boxes of stuff to make room for the tramp without blocking the path. This week I had two appointments Monday and Wednesday, a visit from my sister Jamie on Thursday, and a full 24 hours on duty with my Mom from late Thursday through late Friday.  I started to fiddle at rearranging stuff this afternoon but got sidetracked by the email from my husband about the new date to vacate and spent the next several hours obsessing about how how there will be one and possibly two trips south after the rest of my stuff--books, clothes, crafts, papers, things of sentimental value--before the end of April and the need to find space somewhere in this house to put it all.  We can't make the first trip any sooner than next weekend as I have another appointment at the clinic next Thursday.

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 Monday 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.


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)  What with the lifequake and all I've had to do a lot of reassessing.  Recently I realized that my todo lists are way overloaded even for someone with a reasonably quakeless life.
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.

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.




Read more...

Friday, March 22, 2013

Friday Forays in Fiction: Quotes




“A novelist has two lives-- a reading and writing life, and a lived life. he or she cannot be understood at all apart from this.”
― Jane Smiley, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel

“If living is to progress, if you are lucky, from foolishness to wisdom, then to write novels is to broadcast the various stages of your foolishness.”
― Jane Smiley, 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel


I've been on duty here at Mom's for the last 24 hours.  Mom has just gone to bed.  I've still got to clean up the kitchen but if I do a quick quote post like this tonight I may still have time to work in my own fiction files before I have to take my night meds and give the day over to the sandman.

Enjoy these quotes from Jane Smiley's 13 Ways of Looking at the Novel, her reader's and writer's 'travel guide' to the novel which she wrote after spending a year reading 100 novels.  I've been reading in this since mid January, having checked it out of the Longview library the first week of my visit.  I thought my time was up with it as it had had its two renewals but my sister got a reprieve for me in another renewal so I have it for three more weeks.

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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Appearances and Other Short Stories by Margo Krasne


Appearances and Other Short Stories
by Margo Krasne
Publisher: Wasteland Press, October 23, 2012
160 pages

In Appearances and Other Short Stories, Margo Krasne has explored the dynamics of relationships between lovers, between parent and child, between siblings and with wry humor has plumbed the depths of the deceptions we perpetrate upon each other and upon ourselves as we struggle to maintain appearances in the face of the heavy weight of the real and perceived judgment of others while simultaneously imposing such judgement upon them and upon ourselves.

Part One reads almost like a novel with the series of stories following the Wallachs family from the latter years of WWII into the last decade of the century through the eyes of Alice the youngest of three.  Though with twelve years separating her from her brother, the second born, she was the only child still at home well before she entered kindergarten.  Each of these stories can stand alone but taken as a whole they create a hall of mirrors as revelation after revelation of family secrets, hidden agendas and wounded psyches reflect back onto each other revealing how unreliable is perception and thus, ironically, how futile those efforts we invest in appearance.

Part Two is comprised of three independent short stories which have in common with each other and with the stories in Part One the setting of the Jewish communities of New York, the dynamics of relationship, the role of image in creating our perceptions of reality, the evolving status of women along with the evolution of their perception.  But above all else the common thread is loss, including the deaths of loved ones, the loss of innocence, of youth, of dignity and of the crumbling of those carefully crafted masks in which we make our appearances in public, in relationship and in the depths of our own psyche.

From the Publisher:

In this debut collection, Krasne wields insightful irony and cathartic black humor to illuminate her themes of loss, yearning and survival, bringing to it a biting female perspective. An adept stylist with an ear for dialogue and an eye for personal foibles, Krasne cleverly captures the distinct voices of her characters as they strive to negotiate the subtle and not-so-subtle minefields of family obligation and personal conflict. She has a knack for getting inside her characters' heads as they strive to keep up appearances. Readers will most surely recognize themselves, their friends and family members in all of these beautifully rendered stories.

What they are saying:


"Margo Krasne's collection of short stories ("Appearances") cuts right to the core of love, loss, disappointment and survival. Reading this book will be a cathartic experience for anyone who has had those less-than-perfect-but-oh-so-real family relationships. My own childhood could not have been more different than the Wallachs (an Upper West and later Upper East Side New York Jewish family) - but the emotions are so true and so piercing that I felt every single one. A truly magnificent collection." Jeff Johnson, author of 'Things Your Dog Doesn't Want You To Know'
"Margo Krasne's premiere short story collection, "Appearances", is not to be missed. Krasne invites her readers to step inside the minds & hearts of her characters, resulting in a truthful, proactive, and emotional journey in each of her beautifully crafted stories. The stories will remain with readers long after they put "Appearances" down- each story is nothing `short' of magnificent and illustrate female 'appearances' with real honesty. "Appearances" is truly a phenomenal accomplishment of shorts that leave readers hoping Krasne will soon release her next body of work!" Hillary Megroz's, Goodreads Reviewer
"Margo Krasne's first published collection of short stories is a gem. Full of irony, black humor and snappy dialogue, Krasne draws readers into her world and invites them to stay a while as her characters negotiate the subtle and not-so-subtle minefields of family obligations, relationships and personal conflicts." J. Z. McBride, Amazon.com Reviewer
"I really loved these stories, a lot of humour and emotion. I enjoyed all of them and would like to read more written by this author." Dorothy Greenberg, Amazon.com Reviewer


Margo Krasne, born and raised in Manhattan, has always led two lives. As a radio advertising producer, she sculpted; as a sculptor, she was an extra in commercials, and for the past 24 years, as a communications coach and author of Say it with Confidence, she writes fiction whenever possible.


Follow the blog tour for more reviews, giveaways, author interviews and guest posts: 

http://www.virtualauthorbooktours.com/

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Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Somethings Got To Give

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I am feeling pinned down by the weight of too many projects.  Completely self-inflicted.  The fallout of years of starting big and little thises and thats and neither finishing nor giving up on them.  So they stay on my todo list that must be ten miles long in ten point font by now.

A sampling:

Several dozen stories and novels in my efiles
Several dozen poems in my efiles
Several dozen fiber arts projects in embroider, needlepoint, counted cross stitch and crochet
Several hundred books in my possession and on the shelves of half a dozen libraries between San Jose and Seattle
Several hundred book reviews in my efiles
Several dozen essays in my efiles
Several dozen letters composed and never sent in my efiles
Several dozen word puzzles and riddles created for a web site concept in my efiles
Several dozen crafty projects not fiber arts related
Several hundred (thousands?) family photos scanned into computer needing to be cropped, labeled, and organized
Several thousand ebooks loaded on netbook with wonky metadata.  (no I haven't started that many just obsessively collect them and then spend more time playing with the metadata than reading them)
Several hundred podcasts loaded on netbook
Over a dozen audio books loaded on netbook
Several dozen aborted blog posts in efiles
Over a dozen applications I hope to become more proficient at loaded on netbook with tutorials
Several dozen research projects--some just because, some related to other projects
Over half a dozen boxes of papers and misc still needing sorted from last move and now another is upon us.
Several dozen neglected blogging and social networking tasks (my sidebars haven't relflected my current interests and endevors for two or three years and my reciprocal visiting is way behind and and and and...)
Several dozen ARCs in process somewhere between reading first page and posting review.
The latest project of selfpublishing ebooks entailing the mastering of formatting for the various platforms and the self-promotion

I could go on and on.

The point is that I'm trying to face the fact that there is too much and something has to give.  Especially now that I've put my health and my marriage on project status and given them priority over everything else.

I know I must let some of it go.  Probably most of it.  But as anxious as the weight of the projects makes me, the thought of letting go of any one item on the list is also nerve wracking.  How do I choose?

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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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