Tuesday, April 09, 2013

84rth ROW80 Check-In

A Round of Words in 80 Days
Round 2 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 round I finished the edit for Blow Me A Candy Kiss, the short story I'm planning to use as the experiment in self publishing.  This was on my original Goals when I first joined ROW80 last April.  It is now ready for beta readers.   Anyone interested can say so in a comment or email me at the email in the sidebar.  A link to an earlier draft can be found in the ROW80 Goals page linked under the spreadsheet below.




Note:  The following contains some carryover from previous check-ins to provide context.  I kept most of the last check-in intact with minor edits and then added new material covering the last three days under the heading, Tuesday Night.

Lost some Ys in FREEWRITE and READ CRAFT and FICTION FILES and also have yet to get any word count for Camp NaNo as the last two weeks has been about the trip down to Phoenix OR after more of my stuff last weekend--trip prep, then the trip, three days of packing boxes and the trip back and a day of rearranging stuff to accommodate more stuff.  Then a day of arranging the boxes of more stuff.  Then a day of unpacking half of those boxes and arranging the stuff.   Two things did not suffer at all and got more than double their due: MOVE and DAYDREAM STORY.  The first with all the packing and cleaning at both houses as well as many mini-tramp sessions at both houses.  The second while crocheting on the road and during the slow wake up over coffee each morning..

Merlin
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.

Continuing aftershocks abound.  The latest being the notice from our landlord to vacate by May 15 as he needs to sell the trailer.  So my sister and I just made a second trip down to Phoenix OR last Saturday and spent four days packing my office and closet and bringing a second van load of my stuff back.  We were supposed to bring our cat Merlin back with us too but he was sneezing and had goopy eyes so my sister took him to the vet there and discovered he had an infection from rotten teeth and inverted eye lashes.  He had surgery yesterday

The bulk of what came back this time was books, papers, crafts and clothes.  Books being the greater part with 8 boxes of them alone.

We will be making at least one more trip down before Ed has to vacate to bring back Merlin and more of our stuff.  Meanwhile we have to make room for it all here at Mom's and I have to organize whatever I insist on unpacking to have available while here.

Friday I'd finally made room for the 22 boxes in the van to come inside and then spent an hour or two arranging them so there was still room for the mini-tramp and a path to my desk.  That whole adventure was presented in a photo essay in Friday's post.

My reading and crafting corner
Midweek last week I focused on my clothes and HABA (Health and Beauty Aids) Friday and Saturday I focused on my workstations--the one on my side of the bed in Mom's room that is now designated for reading and crafting and the one in the room across the hall that is dedicated to writing and workouts on the mini-tramp.

Reference Books
Saturday I unpacked all of the books plus three boxes containing, crafts, office supplies, DVDs and CDs.  If I've counted right I've got 10 boxes left but there is less urgency for most of them so I will be taking my time.  I think I now have things in good enough order that I can get back on a regular regimen that includes all of the ROW80 tine investment goals, plus fiber arts, research and fiction reading.

To right of my desk
In spite of all the work going into this project I sincerely hope that I will be repeating it in reverse in a very short time.  I've been counseled to expect it to take several more months before conditions allow Ed and I to set up in our own home together again.  My soul rebels at that thought and my heart wants a miracle.

The conditions required, besides finding another place to live, are that either Ed finds another job that provides medical for both of us or we wait for me to get back on disability so that my medical is covered.  If the later then the combined income from my disability and his job must cover living expenses.  My goal is to find a way to add to that with income from my writing.

Besides all the work on the two rooms and unpacking I did today, I also spent nearly two full hours on the mini-tramp listening to and adding to a YouTube playlist I started creating for working out to a couple days ago that has now topped 170.  It is 90% love songs from the 70s and 80s.  The years of mine and Ed's courtship and early marriage.



Desk
I refuse to feel silly.  Well, I do, but I refuse to believe I should.  It has been years since I listened to much pop music and I am surprised to find what a consolation it can be.

And it seems to have paid dividends in creative inspiration too as I found myself making up song lyrics in my head to a weird hybrid of two songs I couldn't get out of my head.  I posted my lyrics along with vids of the two songs on Sunday

Since saying goodbye again last Tuesday it has been especially hard for Ed and I because he has been without Internet at home so we have been unable to keep up the emails, chats and the Skype that we had just started doing the week before I went down there.  He has to walk a mile to the library on one of the three days it is opened or catch a bus to one of the other branches that are open.  But Sunday there is no bus and Friday there are no branches open.  But he can still use the WIFI sitting outside the closed library.  If it isn't raining.  And then we're limited to his battery life.

I've been grateful for the distraction provided by the work involved in unpacking and organizing my stuff with an eye on my goals.  Now that is mostly done I will need to find other distractions--reading, writing, crafting, music and workouts are definite candidates

Tuesday Night:

My hope for getting back on the regimen after calling the organizing 'good enough' Saturday night were dashed when I woke Sunday feeling icky.  Low energy, sore skin, achy all over.  I lazed about on Sunday.  My tramp work was minimal--shuffle sway without lifting feet.  I read a novel.  I moped.  I wrote Ed long emails he wouldn't get until late Monday.  I listened to more sappy love songs, adding them to workout playlist without working out.  And I wrote my own sappy love song lyrics.

Monday the icky feeling was worse and I began to fear I was coming down with something.  Plus I was anxious all day about our Merlin being in surgery 500 miles away. A phone call from Ed at 5pm put my mind at ease and gave me a few minutes of bittersweet happy just listening to his voice as he gave me the rundown and described Merlin's wobbly attempt to follow him about the house after he got him home.  Our conversation had to be short as he didn't want to leave Mers home alone for long.

I was also on duty with Mom Monday as my sister was out of town for an appointment so I made and served dinner.  I did even less on the tramp than on Sunday and could not listen to music as could not have headphones on while on duty.  Did not read or crochet or write except for post about Merlin's surgery and more long emails to Ed that he wouldn't see until this afternoon.  It was a long mopey day.

Thinking it was sleep deprivation driving the bad feeling I made myself prioritize sleep and take night meds early Sunday night and again Monday night.  Meaning I took them before 2am on Monday Morning and before 3am on Tuesday morning   Then slept until 2pm Monday afternoon but woke feeling no better really plus now had a brain made of dark fog that did not start to clear until after midnight just an hour before I needed to start thinking about taking the meds again.  Today I slept until almost 11am.  The brain fog was back but not nearly as strong.

This issue with my brain not coming back online for up to twelve hours after I've slept longer than six hours has played a role in my sleep issues.  Often the insomnia is truly involuntary but just as often I'm opting for those 24, 36 and upwards straight hours because I can't bear to let go of the creativity, productivity and the me that I know and like because I can't depend on getting them back again.

The mystery of the icky sore skin and achy all over feeling may have been solved today while Ed and I chatted for two hours via gmail.  As I described it to him I remembered that this is what happens every time I start working out on the tramp or increase level of workouts.  That's because it stimulates the lymphatic system and starts moving toxins out of the fat cells towards the kidneys and sweat glands.  The solution is twofold--drink lots of fluid and don't stop moving.  I started increasing my water intake immediately and right after our chat ended I got back on the tramp for over an hour and made sure to take it to vigorous for five minutes three different times.  I'm feeling some better already.

Bradley
This afternoon I wasted more than an hour looking for my reading glasses that I'd misplaced yesterday.  I wear them over the top of my prescription glasses for close work with small fonts or fiber arts.  Sometimes I wear them on top of my head and they will fall off or I will take them off and lay them down and forget where.

When I finally found them there was no easy explanation.  They were two yards away from where I'd been using them last on the floor under the card table in a narrow space between two boxes.  I'm nearly positive it was Bradley the family cat as it wasn't the first time he picked them up and carried them off.

Bradley has been a pill as I rearrange the two rooms.  He mountain climbs the stuff.  He picks up small things and carries them off.  He sits on top of the very thing I need to pick up.   I do hope that when we bring Merlin back next trip the two of them can entertain each other.



The evolution of the writing and workout room:

2nd Workstation and
Indoor Workout Space
In February a few weeks into the lifequake I realized I could no longer wait until I got home to get serious with my fiction writing but to accommodate it I would need a writing station that afforded privacy, quiet, light, and the ability to move about and make moderate noise without fear of disturbing my sleeping mother.  And I would need to designate a time of day in which I could count on no interruptions.

The time best suited was the hours immediately after Mom heads to bed.  The space was trickier.  But the best bet was somewhere in the room that had once been Mom's office and had become a storage room.  So I rearranged some boxes and created a desk in a cubby behind the stairwell.    I was even able to set up the mini-tramp in there. Tho I had to walk across it to get to my desk, I liked having it there until I fell twice inside a week.

 After the first fall on a Sunday I set my mind to being careful but after the second fall the following Friday I realized careful would not cut it.  Not indefinitely.  Not for someone visually impaired and with such a history of scattered thought and impulsive movement.

After a third incident--a close call--my sister set the tramp on end.  But as I feared it seldom got set down for use after that.  I kept wanting to find the time and energy to rearrange the stuff again to make room for the tramp and a path to my desk.  That became one of the goals today as I worked to make room for the stuff coming in from the van.

To make room for the tramp I moved my folded clothes into Mom's room and the boxes of Mom's papers under the card table.  I am far from done with the arranging in either room but I had to stop for the night when Mom went to bed at 9.

In those last minutes as she was getting in bed I was rushing around in there trying to get the bed cleared off so the light could go out for her and I bent down to move a bag by my feet forgetting about the change in location of a bookshelf and I smacked my face on the edge of the shelf across the frame of my glasses jamming them against the bridge of my nose.  I had a massive headache for several minutes and had to put an ice pack on it for awhile.  It also broke skin and raised a welt and I'm hoping I don't wake with two black eyes tomorrow.

I will have more pics of both work stations next check-in.  and hopefully have all the Ys back on the spreadsheet.

FICTION FILES:



My Brain on Story
see moar kittehs 
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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