Saturday, March 09, 2013

76th ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 4 2012

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.

A couple weeks ago 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 above.

Note: much of the following is preserved from the last check-in post with minor edits and a few expansions and updates.  It just didn't make sense to me to write a post from scratch when all of the issues remain the same.  But as you can see the first sentence below is new.

I've got my Ys back on the spreadsheet!  After two solid weeks of work I've gotten my things and my schedule under control (with a few minor lapses) and am working out the kinks in my new workstation described in previous check-ins with pics still displayed here but pushed towards the bottom.

My moods are still volatile but better by far than early February.  I'm starting to accommodate 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.

My extended stay here has ramifications for my fiction writing which I went into in great detail in previous check-ins coming away from them with the plan to dedicate late evenings and part of the weekends Mom spends at my brother's to FICTION FILES.  I selected evenings and weekends when Mom is gone for the chunks of time most likely to be free of interruption.  To make them available I'm supposed to be getting my posts prepped earlier in the day.  Have yet to establish that habit.

>>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.

My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs 
Meanwhile I have selected the WIP from my fiction files to give the bulk of my attention to for the next few months.  Essentially for the duration of this extended stay at Mom's.  It is my 2006 NaNoWriMo novel, The Storyteller's Spouse, which I had neglected more than the rest because it had been so autobiographical I figured it really had no future.  But I've decided that I'll start working with it again 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.

The year I did The Storyteller's Spouse for NaNo was the year following my Dad's death, which I was processing along with some more fallout from the imploding of the insular church I was raised in, the death of my husband's grandmother, his extra heavy drinking, the approach of my 50th birthday which put the cap on any hope of kids of our own, the acceleration of my vision impairment, an especially disregulated mood and frequent illness.

What better time than now to get this one back out?  It had therapeutic value before and probably will again.  Many of the same issues are active in this current lifequake.   Many of the current issues are either caused or exasperated by having not completed the processing of some of the issues I was working through with this story half a decade ago.

I'm not going to worry right now whether I can ever hope to fictionalize this material enough to make it publishable as a novel.  I've no interest in doing a memoir but for now the drama in my own life is so intense I doubt I can shift focus off it any farther than something like this story.

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.

I finally opened the file and started a readthrough Monday night which was the first evening session after completing work on a second workstation with more privacy and ability to make noise and have more than a tiny pool of light after 9pm.  That was the project with the highest priority of the last two weeks.

Workstation pics:

Workstation in Mom's office a week ago Tuesday.
Have made a few adjustments since.
More details behind the two setups are in the previous several check-ins.

That chair is still giving me fits.  Including a pesky backache that won't quit between worksessions.  In the last check-in I said I was thinking of taking that chair out of there, raising the netbook up six to eight inches on a box or something and making this a stand-up desk.  Well I did half of that by creating an easily transformable setup for typing while standing and back again.  I was going to get pictures but didn't get to it.

I left the chair because I realized it worked fine for sitting and crocheting while watching video or listening to pods or audio books.  It was only leaning forward to type and read off the screen that put the strain on my back and the twisting from side to side when copying off notes or referring to reference books.  So for those type tasks I'm going to try the standup workstation.

There is also the possibility that over the next few weeks I'll be able to expand the space I have available in here by helping Mom sort through the boxes of papers and other stuff and the archaeological dig on her desktop.  But I can't wait for that to get done to start getting busy.  This has already been a two week process of fairly steady work getting my own stuff organized between the two rooms.

The workstation in Mom's room on my side of the bed.
Pic taken my first weekend here in January

Workstation in Mom's Room today
with the printer and computer gone
and showing the extra books from home and library
and the bag of crochet

Indoor Workout Space
I've been on the mini-tramp several times a day since I set it up here a week ago Tuesday.  I've begun to start my day on it.  So MOVE goals are well taken care of.  Above and Beyond as they say.  It helps that I have to walk across it to get in and out of my corner and having it so close I often get up and get on when I'm feeling restless and irritated by the stationary chair that I can't get comfortable in.  I find it helps me to think.


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

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.

1 tell me a story:

Shan Jeniah Burton 3/11/2013 4:56 PM  


I noticed your Y's right away!

I'm so happy that you are finding balance and ways to make your situation work. I hope that will lead to better moods and outlook,over time, and provide much writing inspiration, too.

May this week be even better! =)

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