Thursday, April 24, 2008

Playing Catch Up

This post was intended to be a book review of the the book I finished today. But after I spent three hours researching online for links and confirmation of facts etc I was too weary to do a formal book review and decided I would just ramble for a paragraph or two on the theme of catching up which has been the theme of my week as recovery from the flu progresses. I figured a quick thirty minutes would do it.

HA. Since when do I do quick. Four hours later...

Well the book cover graphic is still relevant so I'm leaving it there but you'll have to read til pertineer (as my Grandpa used to say) the end to see why.

I won't be posting my Friday Snippet until late tomorrow or like the previous two weeks I may put up a shell containing the title and links to the first six parts to allow myself a day or two extra. This is partly because I am struggling with an aversion to advance the story in a meaningful way. Oh, I could keep meandering along adding humorous interactions between fifteen year old Crystal and the motel maid, managers and residents in the NOW thread and touching interactions between her and her several siblings a year earlier in the THEN thread or backstory. But until I am willing to face up to the need to bring her oppressors on stage to interact with her--Father in the THEN thread and the two figures posing with her in the sleazy poloroid photos she found in the motel room she woke up in with no memory of how she got there... Until I can face the need to write those scenes that make my skin crawl to think about, there can be no real advancement of the story towards climax and resolution. And please that is not a double entendre!

Well, anyway, as I said, that is only part of the reason why I am delaying the snippet again. There is also the issue of a great number of tasks and duties neglected during the month that I was sick. As my energy and strength levels slowly increased this past week I began to add some of them back into my routines and tackled a few hugely backed up tasks. Like getting the bib slips made or sorted out of the file for the two batches of books that Ed picked up for me at the library two weeks apart. The first and largest batch had sat in the bag unpacked for two weeks! Ed picked up the second batch for me Monday evening and I set myself the task Monday morning. There were about twenty and it took me over four hours as part of this task always involves browsing in the books to remind myself why I sent for them and to judge their relevance to the project they were meant for. And of course I usually succumb to the temptation to start reading more than the paragraph here and there necessary to make that judgment.

Can you believe it has been FIVE weeks since I last got to go to the library myself? It was five weeks ago that I made the full round trip walk to the new Phoenix branch building that opened February 6th. In the six weeks between the opening and the third week of March I'd had two colds and the aftermath of a jarring fall to contend with. I got to go only those times Ed was available to give me a ride during the very limited hours the library is open--16 hours spread over Monday, Tuesday and Thursday. The week following my triumphant round trip walk, I chose to skip a trip to the library to put the brakes on the incoming books and use the time to read instead. It was probably a good thing I didn't attempt the walk that Thursday because the following evening I was hit with the first symptoms of what turned out to be a nasty lingering flu virus. Four weeks later I am still far from up to par.

Meanwhile the flood of books I'd brought home that first six weeks after the library reopened began to surge back as their renewals were used up around three weeks ago. So, so many of them I had barely handled after the week I brought them home! And the surge continues with the batch that was supposed to go back today but didn't because Ed didn't get off work before the library closed at 4PM. I have been pushing to finish several of them this week and did finish two and now with the weekend to give them I may finish one or two more but that will eat into the time available for the even larger batch due next Thursday. And next week the first of the Shakespeare and Macbeth materials head back. These are needed specifically for research related to my novel, The Substance of Things Hoped For aka Faye's story which is part of the Fruits of the Spirit story world. (And btw, Crystal's story is in that story world. I'm not sure I've stated that outright.) I have a chapter/story planned in which Faye, Wilma and Julia put on a high school production of Macbeth. Themes from Macbeth was already intricately woven into the first chapter, Of Cats, and Claws and Curiosities in which Faye, Wilma and Julia encounter a strange old lady who speaks only in lines from Macbeth. I want to intersperse a THEN thread into that chapter, the putting on of the play several years earlier. To do this I need to do more than reread the play and review its themes and how they relate to the themes of my story. I needed to learn about how Shakespeare is performed on stage. A completely new field of study for me.

This was the project I had planned for the 70 Days of Sweat challenge. But I need all 150 watts of brain and creativity power to work on a story this complex so I gravitated to Crystal's story and challenged myself to produce a hot off the keyboard snippet each week. Even though work on Crystal's story would still count for 70 Days and I managed an output of 1-2K per week in spite of the flu, I kept forgetting to check in at the hub on Sunday's so I suppose that makes me a dropout. I still want to proceed 'as if' though with a revised goal and if Sven shuns me then it will have to be my personal self-challenge. The idea is to keep writing. Something. As regularly as possible. Along with daily interaction with the story world via vivid dreaming of it and with its ever expanding files. There were many many hours while I was sick that intense imagining of scenes I hope to write kept me sane. I comfort myself with knowing that will pay off eventually.

The last two days my focus has been on two things primarily: Finishing The Qur'an: A Biography by Bruce Lawrence. And returning all the visits to this past week's memes--Friday Snippet, Monday Poetry Train and Thursday Thirteen. I owe even more from the previous three weeks but thinking about that made me tired before I lifted a finger to click a link. So I set the first order priority to start with catching up this week's worth and then staying current. Second order is catching up with previous weeks owed visits. Though I may have to let most of the poems and TT from previous weeks slide and put those visitors at the top of the list for the current meme edition this week and next; but I will eventually catch up on ALL the snippets though I may leave comments only on the latest one. They are stories after all! I spent over five hours returning visits today, spending an average of 3o minutes per blog. It just isn't in me to do a flyby. And as you can see with this here post, I don't do short very well either.

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