Saturday, March 16, 2013

78th 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 Sunday's fall and Tuesday's brain hangnail and Friday's fall and today'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.

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 weeks of walking over it a dozen times a day without incident, Sunday I slipped and fell.  It was a terrible jarring and left bruises on the inside of one leg and top of the other shoulder and a gouge inside my left wrist about an inch long and an 8th inch wide and deep.  It missed the vein by less than half an inch so it could have been worse.   My neck still feels whiplashed and too many muscles and tendons to name are still whimpering and whining.  But at least they are not screaming like Monday morning.

I'm debating whether it is worth completely rearranging the boxes of stuff to make room for the tramp without blocking the path.  But I've already put over two weeks into this project.  I think I just need to be careful.  Starting by NOT wearing slick soled shoes because they are cuter than the safer ones.  

Ummm Careful is probably not going to cut it.

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.  And that is not going to be soon enough. Sigh.  There won't be any 'getting busy' if I break something:

So that was then.  Tramp's still in place but the pressure is on to find another place for it as  Friday morning I was walking across it again and stepped off too far to the left in my blind spot and stepped onto the corner of that box of shoes seen in the foreground.   My right foot hit the center of the tramp launching me.  I flew for several inches.  Came down hard on both knees and left elbow.  Just missed hitting my head on edge of Mom's desk or edge of open door.  My sister heard the crash from clear out in the living room.  She's after me to move it.  I'm resigned to it but I haven't yet as the only option is behind the couch or behind the dining table where I'm unlikely to get it out daily let alone get on the several times a day I've been doing.  I need to get on rearranging this room to make room for it off my path in and out of the cubby.  But there have been other priorities this weekend.  And there are doctor and counselor appointments coming up this week...  Including the assessment for bi-polar Monday.

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

Irritable much?

The self-reflection I"m trying to practice has not given me much insight.  There are so many variables.  It could be it's just one of the waves of this mood disorder that I have to ride out.  Or it could be the self-reflection itself peeking under the depression that, so they say, always cloaks anger turned inward.  Anger was an impermissible emotion in my upbringing so I learned to become unconscious of it but when that failed guilt and shame would attach.


Today, Saturday, I had another major anxiety attack while browsing the thread and yarn at Michael's.  Sensory overload  as always played a big role but there were other strong emotions attached and in the process of composing a 2K email to my husband about it I figured it out.  

I'd gone in to look at and price the thread for the two baby afghans for my grand nephew and grand niece due in June.  Projects that I've not allowed myself to start until I finish the overdue Secret Santa project and thus have lost three of the five months I anticipated having for them.  

Plus the thread has not been bought and now money is a bigger issue than it was before (see above about the trailer) and at some level not yet conscious I realized I was not going to be able to go with the two large and intricate patterns I had my heart set on.  

On another level, also not yet conscious, I was resenting the thought of another large urgent crochet project.  Let alone two.  The effect of the Secret Santa project going overdue has really taken the joy out of the process for me.  And nearly the Joy as well.

When these thoughts became conscious I realized that my allegiance for creative projects has shifted off the fiber arts onto the writing.  Which is a good thing.  Maybe?  

I still want to play with my thread on a daily basis but I don't want it to feel like a job!!!  No more 6, 8 12 hour days with hook in hand.  Nope.

My heart is still set on doing two afghans but not necessarily large and intricate and not necessarily in time for the due dates.  Some sadness attached to that but no longer anxiety.

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.  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.

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 week!!

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.


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.

1 tell me a story:

Eden Mabee 3/18/2013 7:55 PM  

Joy, you've got a lot going on here, and while you're getting a lot of writing done (this post is huge), you may not be allowing yourself the chance to get the writing that will give you a sense of fulfillment done. The same goes for many of your other the afghans.

Maybe you could meet with other crafters someplace and by doing so, make a friend who could help buy the yarn for you so that you don't need to deal with the overwhelming stores (I know they get to me sometimes)....

Just a thought.

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