Sunday, October 18, 2020

My Words Paid a Visit - ROW80 - Preptober

 

Christina Aguilera - Say Something


Well.  I started journaling again late Thursday after Mom was in bed.  It began as an exercise in testing out my lap desk set up in bed for my new Windows Fusion Tablet with my Zagg Bluetooth keyboard.  I was writing in Scrivener but not in a file purposed to something specific.  

I had just installed Scrivener on the Fusion but had no access to files created on the other Windows computers yet and until I have a backup procedure that includes syncing files I didn't want to work on any of those files on the Fusion.  So I had created a scratch pad file called Write Now.  This is actually a thing I've done since my first computer.  

This gives me the ability to take notes, have a copy/paste clipboard for complex posts, and write for any file in any ap on any device on impulse knowing it is just a matter of copy/pasting it into the intended file.  If that file is on a different device I might email the text to myself or copy/paste into Evernote.  

When I started paying for Evernote so I could have it on unlimited devices I'd hoped I'd be able to use it as the scratchpad directly but the interface can't keep up with the speed of my typing and slowing down to accommodate it interrupts my thoughts and keeps me focused on the tech rather than my words.

So I started typing (at first it was all about the typing, the feel of the keyboard, the view of the screen, the feel of my posture) and since I needed something to type I just started typing the word 'words' and phrases with the word 'words' in it.  Soon this became me having a conversation with 'my words' about their missing status.

No conversation isn't quite right.  It was more like a cross between prayer and tongue-lashing; begging and bargaining.  Soon I had a large chunk of unbroken text with no caps, no punctuation, no breaks, and lots of typos.  My typical 'shitty' first draft.  Though calling these things 'first draft' is a stretch because 90% of them I deem word vomit and never look back.

This time though, there was something drawing me forward.  There was a rhythm and if began to feel as though it were singing to me. I was even hearing music in my head that seemed familiar but at the same time new.  And that  music and rhythm began to impose more form on the text and next thing I became aware of was the arrival of mental images, metaphors and moving pictures--all the elements of story!  Or at least how story announces itself to me.

I went with it for a total of twenty to thirty minutes and then started reading it over and looking for places for natural breaks.  Thinking paragraphs at first but it soon became obvious this was not prose but a free verse poem and possibly even a song if I knew how to make the music for it..  Five hours later I posted 'Say Me Else I Shall Not Be'.  

It was after 5am and my alarm was going to go off in less than four hours.  I was too wound to sleep.  It was a good thing Mom was leaving for my brother's before lunch.  At first I intended to at least try for a nap before my alarm went off but I had to get up to get something to eat as I knew I wouldn't sleep without that and while I was eating I sat at my desk and did a search on YouTube for phrases beginning with the word 'Say' or 'Speak' and eventually hit on 'Say Something'  

With the first notes even before the first words, I recognized it as the piece faint memories of had been influencing my poem.  I spent the next three hours listening to various versions and covers and eventually ended up with the two I've embedded here as my top two favorites which I've listened to over and over for the last two and a half days. Multiple dozens of times. 

Some combination of writing the poem and listening to this song has created a calm state for me.  I'm no longer (for now) having meltdowns.  I get weepy but I am not soaking my pillow or shirt with tears, sucking a belly full of air or curled in a ball holding my breath in an attempt to make no sound as I bawl like a tantrumming toddler.  As I had been for seven straight days.

There were some moments while writing the long unbroken text that became 'Say Me Else I Shall Not Be' that I thought I was recognizing suicidal ideation which I had been free of since the late 90s and I was briefly scared.  But then I realized that what it really was was a plea for my life with the words that had abandoned me because I'd long understood my words were my tether to reality.  

Whether I was writing on paper or screen or on that screen that is my mind I had had the habit since early childhood of composing a running narrative of the the events as they transpire.  When I loose that I loose the ability to maintain a sense of reality, to keep the daydreams and fantasy separate from 'what is really happening'.  There is no way to function in the real world when that happens.

As to my goals since Wednesday.  Failure across the board except for the journaling exercise that became the poem.  I'm good with that.  A small price to pay for a huge payoff.

If I could carry a tune I would sing this song to Ed:

Lyrics to Say Something
by A Great Big World:

Say something, I'm giving up on you.
I'll be the one, if you want me to.
Anywhere, I would've followed you.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
And I am feeling so small.
It was over my head
I know nothing at all.
And I will stumble and fall.
I'm still learning to love
Just starting to crawl.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you.
Anywhere, I would've followed you.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
And I will swallow my pride.
You're the one that I love
And I'm saying goodbye.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
And I'm sorry that I couldn't get to you.
And anywhere, I would have followed you.
Oh-oh-oh-oh say something, I'm giving up on you.
Say something, I'm giving up on you.
Say something...


Say Something - Pentatonix



Backstory highlights and high and low notes:



The writing challenge that
 knows you have a life

NaNoWriMo 2020




2020 Round 4 ROW80 and NaNo goals:


  • Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  This used to be a major challenge for me but I've got it managed since mid March.  Or at least I had until this past week.  Grief has taken a toll.
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- proven to provide a high yield return on investment as whenever I've practiced any of them it stimulates creativity, memory, and insight; lowers anxiety, and increases energy, stamina and a positive mood.
  • Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily MInimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream.
  • Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average
  • Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average 
  • Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  The autism diagnosis helps explain this but doesn't let me off the hook.  If anything it makes it more important.  Plus this is preparing the ground for future promotion once I'm ready to publish
  • 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  It's been years since I've made clean copies of manuscripts in my portfolios and for most of the noveling writing challenges I've never printed hardcopy.  That is a lot of words to mine as between 2004 and 2015 I participated in more than one such challenge per year-- Nanowrimo, Junowrimo, Camp Nano, ROW80 and Sweating for Sven.among them.  That is a lot of novella length WIP just gathering electron dust.  A conservative estimate is over 20.  I've been wondering for sometime now if the neglect of these stories after the challenges were over is at least partly responsible for the storyworld's elusiveness over the last several years.  I'm hoping that this exercise in honoring their existence will cure my character's recent shyness.
  • To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged.  This will take most of the Round as there are over 80. See Poems by Joy Renee Portal.  Another exercise in honoring old work to encourage new work.
  • Via the above mentioned Scavenger hunt: Collect everything resembling personal essay into a Scrivener file.  Either this will be added to the self-pup poetry ebook or will become the second ebook.  Or a combo of those options.
  • Personal Journaling 20 min or 500 words whichever comes first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling. 
  • NaNo Novel 1666 words per day on average. Am going to rebel a bit and bring back a previous NaNo WIP and rework it.  It is fitting because it's premise was rooted in the dynamics of my own marriage. I'm hoping this can be an exercise in grief processing. It's title is The Storyteller's Spouse and it was an exercise in 'unreliable narrator'.  The wife in my story is a YA novelist and the husband is a life-of-the-party natural born storyteller aka raconteur aka tall-tale-teller. I think the reason I got discouraged with the effort after that NaNo ended was because I had tried to lay all the unreliableness at the feet of the husband not realizing how much the wife's denial about the extent to which his storytelling was not confined to social gatherings put her squarely in the same camp. Older and wiser now. 
  •  Am tweaking this goal to combine Storytellers Spouse with another story.  I had forgotten that I've made it a tradition since 2008 to write my election year NaNo in the same storyworld as Mobile Hopes which is set in a mobile home park called Hope Estates.  Each of the novels is set during its election year and the families in the park are living the issues that dominate the campaigns: health, jobs, housing, immigration, women's rights, law and order, climate change, race relations and so on.  Alll I have to do is have the characters move into Hope Estates and share the novel with several other families and I don't have a reworking of an old NaNo but a new story in the Hope Estates series. 
  • Read more...

    Friday, October 16, 2020

    Say Me Else I Shall Not Be




    Say Me Else I Shall Not Be
    by
    Joy Rnee

    Words gone astray
    Gone away
    Gone
    Words gone missing
    Stolen away
    Gone
    Words gone south
    Gone out of my mouth
    Gone
    Gone out of my mind
    Wordless I wail,
    Words! Oh my words
    Where are you?
    Words fail?
    Me?!
    Words be!
    Be!
    I command thee.
    Words now! says me.
    Say me
    Else I shall not be.
    How am I without you?
    Who am I without you?
    Words! My words! Return unto me!
    Words! Be mine again.
    Oh my word
    Do not deny me
    Do not betray me
    Must I beg?
    I will beg.
    Beggar am I
    See me? A
    Wordless beggar
    Wandering circuitous streets
    Sightless
    For you my light
    Refuse to shine.
    How shall I find my way without you?
    Who will find me without your signal?
    Without words there is no significance.
    Without significance, I stumble
    Down dark alleys of woe
    With tattered thoughts aflutter
    About my brow.  
    A crown of unknowing.
    Clothed in a snarl of tangled threads
    Shod in flip-flopping moods
    I fall and nothing stays me
    I reach out and nothing reaches back
    For there are no words
    Wordless I crawl among the shards
    Of the unmaking of my world
    Shedding trains of thought that
    Scuttle off undefined
    Aborted by silence.
    Never to be.
    Hear my plea.
    Soon!
    Soon!
    You must say me
    Else I shall not be.

    Rereading this on Sunday, I can see I've still got some punctuation cleanup to do to clarify meaning.  I will be editing this once I get it figured out in the draft.

    Read more...

    Wednesday, October 14, 2020

    A Sad So Big- ROW80 - Preptober

     

    iz gonna haz a boo kwissmus wifowt U

    I woke up Monday morning before dawn after less than seven hours of sleep and in spite of having taken a double dose of the Trazadone as I lay down hoping for a solid 9 or 10 hours to make up for the short, erratic sleep all weekend, I was still awake thirty minutes later and the tears were already flowing again as they had been doing all weekend every time I woke enough to remember all over again.  

    With Mom now sleeping inches away I could not let the silent weeping devolve into the shuddering gasping sobs and the only thing I knew that could nip it in the budding stage was to find a distraction.  So I sat up in the dark and pulled out my DVD player which was already loaded with the third disc of Game of Thrones season one.  Just as the opening titles finished there was a load explosive CLAP that seemed to surround the room or even suffuse the room.  My ears felt as they do when a July 4th celebrant sets off an M80 yards away.

    My first thought was it was the story but I immediately realized there were no explosive devices in Game of Thrones.  I paused the player and pulled out the earbud just in time to hear the loud follow-up rumble of thunder and the sky opening up.  I got up and went to the front room to watch the rain fall and was reminded of this LOLcat I created as the first Christmas apart from Ed approached in 2013.  I had set such store in the hope of being home for Christmas that year and again every year that followed.  And though he had returned to Longview in 2016 we still had not resumed living together.  Sleepovers in his apartment did not count in my mind and heart as 'coming home for Christmas'.

    Now it will never be.

    I knew this in June when I made the choice to break up to protect my self.  I knew this season was going to be rough as between his birthday in September all the way through the anniversary of our last sleepover in mid March just before Covid shelter-in-place rules took effect there are few weeks without a holiday, birthday, anniversary or strong memory attached.  I knew it with my head anyway.  And I had just made it through the week of his birthday with barely a blip in mood change and was congratulating myself on that in the four days before the phone call that shattered my world all over again.

    Have still not begun to write in either my journal or other files.  This seems to be the only place I can make the words flow.  I think it is because in order to 'speak' to an audience I must stand back from the rawness of my emotions put on at least a pretense of objective reportage.  Also I've put up fences around certain topics that still feel taboo (inappropriate sharing) for blogging and it is exactly in those areas where the emotions are the rawest and the tears most ready.  I can see how that contributes to the post editor feeling like a safer place than my journal.

    I was mystified all weekend as to why my emotional state had devolved so drastically from the initial days which I had thought at the time were really bad.  The last five days has been exponentially worse.   I came to realize in the last day or so that what changed was the infusion of anger into the grief.  

    Unconscious anger until yesterday.

    There are layers to this dynamic for me.  There is the fairly typical grieving process anger that's to be expected according to the stages-of-grief literature.  But as complex as that is it is greatly exasperated by the habitual suppression of anger that was ingrained in my psyche from toddlerhood on.  This too was at least two-fold because both of my parents family of origin were quite stoic and did not condone any expression of strong emotions from exuberance to exasperation.  

    But anger was in a separate category all its own.  According to Scripture, we were told, God equates anger with murder.  There is a verse (I'm too tired to look it up right now so I'm paraphrasing) that claims that being angry with your brother is the same as wishing him dead and he who holds anger in his heart is as guilty of murder as the one who sheds blood.

    Contrary to the Scriptural teachings of my childhood, psychological principles declare anger a natural, normal and even healthy response to the violation of ones boundaries. As much as I loved Ed, (love him still) there was a great deal in our relationship dynamic that was a trigger for anger. Not all of it could be blamed on the alcohol.   But I was not allowed to express such a response either outwardly or inwardly.  I could not most of the time even allow myself to be aware of it.

    It wasn't Ed that forbid expression of anger it was my training and I was a very good enforcer of the rule in spite of the fact that he and his entire family were loud and rowdy with what seemed to me unfettered emotions running the entire gamut from glee to rage.  Sometimes just being around strong emotion even if it wasn't directed at me was enough to trigger my goto reactions.  First anxiety revving up from mild to panic attack level unless I was able to suppress or release the emotional charge.  

    Guess how I did that?  

    Tears!  

    No matter what the strong emotion that was the only safe way for me to express it.  Safe for my psyche that is.  It's not like I got any positive feedback from anybody subjected to my tears from at least age five on. Not even in my family whose rules and attitudes set the framework up for my particular coping method .And I did get plenty of negative feedback.  Just not enough to override the 'rules' against expressing strong emotion.  

    Complicating all of that is two more layers related to being female.  There is the western cultural zeitgeist that considers anger unfeminine and that would be plenty all by itself to flummox a woman from blushing bride to grieving widow.  Add to that the doctrinal demand that I was raised under that a wife must submit to her husband in all things.  A wife could no more say 'No' to her husband than a daughter could say 'No' to her father.

    Now consider all of that in the light of the fact that I had consciously felt and acknowledged my anger last May when Ed froze me out again.  Two weeks in I not only acknowledged it I used it to fuel my determination to draw a line, to say 'This I will not accept!' 

    I used my anger to name his withdrawal as abuse. 

    I used it to stiffen my spine.  

    I used it to dry up my tears.  

    I used it to feel strong.  

    I used it to give him a tongue lashing in the middle of his apartment complex parking lot.

    I used it to accuse him of abandoning his disabled wife and dying mother.

    I used it to amplify my outdoor voice on a summer day with an array of open apartment doors and windows, putting his and my shame on display.

    I used it to stay resolute all summer.

    Then I got the call.

    The anger fled and grief took over for a time.

    But now the anger is back but it is no longer making me feel strong.

    Only wrong.

    Tho I was not thinking about it at the time I knew that shame was his most potent drinking trigger. All I was thinking about was getting away, breaking the spell he had me under. I got back in the car, slammed the door and rode my anger across the river, leaving him with nowhere to hide from the public shaming except inside his apartment gripping an aluminum can.

    It is almost as if some supernatural storyteller just wrote Joy's story to prove the truth of the 'biblical principle' that anger is the equivalent of murder.

    What am I to do with this?

    ____________________

    As for my goals below? The first six are satisfactory.  The rest--zip.

    Backstory highlights and high and low notes:



    The writing challenge that
     knows you have a life

    NaNoWriMo 2020




    2020 Round 4 ROW80 and NaNo goals:


  • Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  This used to be a major challenge for me but I've got it managed since mid March.  Or at least I had until this past week.  Grief has taken a toll.
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- proven to provide a high yield return on investment as whenever I've practiced any of them it stimulates creativity, memory, and insight; lowers anxiety, and increases energy, stamina and a positive mood.
  • Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily MInimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream.
  • Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average
  • Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average 
  • Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  The autism diagnosis helps explain this but doesn't let me off the hook.  If anything it makes it more important.  Plus this is preparing the ground for future promotion once I'm ready to publish
  • 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  It's been years since I've made clean copies of manuscripts in my portfolios and for most of the noveling writing challenges I've never printed hardcopy.  That is a lot of words to mine as between 2004 and 2015 I participated in more than one such challenge per year-- Nanowrimo, Junowrimo, Camp Nano, ROW80 and Sweating for Sven.among them.  That is a lot of novella length WIP just gathering electron dust.  A conservative estimate is over 20.  I've been wondering for sometime now if the neglect of these stories after the challenges were over is at least partly responsible for the storyworld's elusiveness over the last several years.  I'm hoping that this exercise in honoring their existence will cure my character's recent shyness.
  • To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged.  This will take most of the Round as there are over 80. See Poems by Joy Renee Portal.  Another exercise in honoring old work to encourage new work.
  • Via the above mentioned Scavenger hunt: Collect everything resembling personal essay into a Scrivener file.  Either this will be added to the self-pup poetry ebook or will become the second ebook.  Or a combo of those options.
  • Personal Journaling 20 min or 500 words whichever comes first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.
  • NaNo Novel 1666 words per day on average. Am going to rebel a bit and bring back a previous NaNo WIP and rework it.  It is fitting because it's premise was rooted in the dynamics of my own marriage. I'm hoping this can be an exercise in grief processing. It's title is The Storyteller's Spouse and it was an exercise in 'unreliable narrator'.  The wife in my story is a YA novelist and the husband is a life-of-the-party natural born storyteller aka raconteur aka tall-tale-teller. I think the reason I got discouraged with the effort after that NaNo ended was because I had tried to lay all the unreliableness at the feet of the husband not realizing how much the wife's denial about the extent to which his storytelling was not confined to social gatherings put her squarely in the same camp. Older and wiser now.
       Am tweaking this goal to combine Storytellers Spouse with another story.  I had forgotten that I've made it a tradition since 2008 to write my election year NaNo in the same storyworld as Mobile Hopes which is set in a mobile home park called Hope Estates.  Each of the novels is set during its election year and the families in the park are living the issues that dominate the campaigns: health, jobs, housing, immigration, women's rights, law and order, climate change, race relations and so on.  Alll I have to do is have the characters move into Hope Estates and share the novel with several other families and I don't have a reworking of an old NaNo but a new story in the Hope Estates series. 
  • Read more...

    Sunday, October 11, 2020

    Wishing My Words Would Flow Like Tears - ROW80 - Preptober

     

    Still haven't started writing this round.  Though I have set myself down in front of the screen with the file open and also sat with paper and pencil but only doodled.  Every time I sit quiet and invite my thoughts to express themselves they do so with tears instead of words.

    I had a major meltdown Friday afternoon and have been a big wet mess all weekend.  The only times I was able to stave them off was when engaging in an activity that kept me focused elsewhere.  Binge watching 30 Rock and Game of Thrones was one outlet and the other was dealing with the variety of tech issues with my slew of devices with a particular focus on getting them set up to promote my NaNo and ROW80 goals.

    The one big task I'd hoped to accomplish today was to get my entire 1 Terabyte Laptop disc backed up on my new 2 Terabyte WD Passport Wireless Pro.  But after churning it's wheel for nearly an hour it gives me the message that there isn't enough room.  So then I started reading the User's Manuel but discovered my brain was fried and I realized it was probably a blood sugar thing as I hadn't eaten for over twelve hours.  So tho I had no appetite I fixed something to eat but by the time I was finished with that it was getting too late to continue working on that project.

    We had just got Mom to bed and I had to make a decision as to whether I was going to post my update tonight or wait until tomorrow.  If I chose tonight I would have to be as quick and brief as possible as the window of time when I can safely take the Trazadone and be sure to be alert and coordinated enough by 9am for Mom's wake up routine was fast closing.  I have until midnight but I shouldn't take the entire two hours just because it's there.  I'm already sleep deprived so ideally I should give myself the opportunity for over 9 hours of sleep.

    All that is in reference to the plan I described in last night's post: to keep the weekends Rx free and allow myself to wallow in the feelings but to take the Trazadone every night that Mom will be home in the morning.  Which is Sunday through Thursday.  Tho I've left Thursday as optional as Mom is gone before lunch so as long as I've gotten enough sleep to manage the wakeup routine at 9am it's fine.

    I've also decided today that I am putting a time-limit on the week-end wallows.  I'm giving myself the October weekends and that's it. I don't know for sure how I will manage the curtail yet.  I guess I will have to be open to a nightly regimen of Traz if I don't find alternatives.  But I do have a couple ideas related to meditation and getting back to the sort/organize project in a focused way.  Those were the two tools that helped me the most in the weeks after I broke up with Ed last June.

    Putting the pictures away for a time would go a long way as well.  I know because that's what I did in June.

    I also know that writing itself is a huge tool for helping me process so I'm going to have to break that barrier soon. Obviously I'm writing this post so it is not impossible.  And I was just thinking today that I regret not having kept a simple record of the events and the things I learned and accomplished since the phone call on Sept 28.  And right up until I wrote that sentence I was keeping my eyes dry for this task..  

    The only things in the goals list I rate as a success this past week is items 2-6.  But there was a whole lot of progress and focused attention on solving issues related to management of tools, self and time with an eye to facilitating my writing goals.  Too bad I hadn't included any of that in the goals list.

    On the other hand Ed used to always accuse me of spending more time polishing my tools and to-do lists than doing the actual work they were intended to create or facilitate.  Procrastination and avoidance were words he used.  Stop talking about it and just do it he would say.  Just start!

    Backstory highlights and high and low notes:



    The writing challenge that
     knows you have a life

    NaNoWriMo 2020




    2020 Round 4 ROW80 and NaNo goals:


  • Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  This used to be a major challenge for me but I've got it managed since mid March.  Or at least I had until this past week.  Grief has taken a toll.
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- proven to provide a high yield return on investment as whenever I've practiced any of them it stimulates creativity, memory, and insight; lowers anxiety, and increases energy, stamina and a positive mood.
  • Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily MInimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream.
  • Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average
  • Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average 
  • Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  The autism diagnosis helps explain this but doesn't let me off the hook.  If anything it makes it more important.  Plus this is preparing the ground for future promotion once I'm ready to publish
  • 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  It's been years since I've made clean copies of manuscripts in my portfolios and for most of the noveling writing challenges I've never printed hardcopy.  That is a lot of words to mine as between 2004 and 2015 I participated in more than one such challenge per year-- Nanowrimo, Junowrimo, Camp Nano, ROW80 and Sweating for Sven.among them.  That is a lot of novella length WIP just gathering electron dust.  A conservative estimate is over 20.  I've been wondering for sometime now if the neglect of these stories after the challenges were over is at least partly responsible for the storyworld's elusiveness over the last several years.  I'm hoping that this exercise in honoring their existence will cure my character's recent shyness.
  • To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged.  This will take most of the Round as there are over 80. See Poems by Joy Renee Portal.  Another exercise in honoring old work to encourage new work.
  • Via the above mentioned Scavenger hunt: Collect everything resembling personal essay into a Scrivener file.  Either this will be added to the self-pup poetry ebook or will become the second ebook.  Or a combo of those options.
  • Personal Journaling 20 min or 500 words whichever comes first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.
  • NaNo Novel 1666 words per day on average. Am going to rebel a bit and bring back a previous NaNo WIP and rework it.  It is fitting because it's premise was rooted in the dynamics of my own marriage. I'm hoping this can be an exercise in grief processing. It's title is The Storyteller's Spouse and it was an exercise in 'unreliable narrator'.  The wife in my story is a YA novelist and the husband is a life-of-the-party natural born storyteller aka raconteur aka tall-tale-teller. I think the reason I got discouraged with the effort after that NaNo ended was because I had tried to lay all the unreliableness at the feet of the husband not realizing how much the wife's denial about the extent to which his storytelling was not confined to social gatherings put her squarely in the same camp. Older and wiser now.
       Am tweaking this goal to combine Storytellers Spouse with another story.  I had forgotten that I've made it a tradition since 2008 to write my election year NaNo in the same storyworld as Mobile Hopes which is set in a mobile home park called Hope Estates.  Each of the novels is set during its election year and the families in the park are living the issues that dominate the campaigns: health, jobs, housing, immigration, women's rights, law and order, climate change, race relations and so on.  Alll I have to do is have the characters move into Hope Estates and share the novel with several other families and I don't have a reworking of an old NaNo but a new story in the Hope Estates series. 
  • Read more...

    Saturday, October 10, 2020

    I'm Sooo Ready! The Dewey Thon Is Almost Here.

    Dewey's 24hr Read-a-Thon Fall Edition 2020:
    October 24

    Reader Sign-Up

     I am so ready for the Dewey Thon!! 

    I definitely need the distraction of a read-a-thon.  It would be a lot more productive and healthier than binge-watching videos and playing video games to keep my memories and emotions from swamping me.  

    Reading has been hit-or-miss since I got the news of Ed's death.  My attention span would fit in Thumbelina's Thimble.  And tears are not substitutes for reading glasses and they still just spring up out of nowhere any odd moment of the day or night.

    I did have a couple of stable days earlier this week when I kept the tears at bay for most of the day and only got a bit weepy towards bedtime when fatigue had worn down my resolve.  But then on Friday--yesterday--I had to talk to the coroner again and then the funeral home to make arrangements for Ed's cremation.  I've felt like Alice in the lake of tears ever since.

    Bedtime is the worst time of the day.  No matter how tired.  To keep the tears at bay I have keep myself distracted and the quietest way to do that is binge watch videos with earbuds or play silly match three video games until my eyes are crossing.  But even if I'm falling asleep over them by the time I've put away the device and settled among my nest of pillows and blankets with the light out I end up watching the video of my life on the back of my eyeballs and if I don't want to devolve into the silent head-ache inducing ugly cry, clutching my waist in the fetal position I must nip it by sitting back up and pulling out a distraction or getting up to wander from room to room or sit at my desk and fiddle with aps or aimlessly browse websites from my overloaded bookmarks or cull my email inbox...or...or...

    Those last listed activities are not as unproductive as it sounds as they are part of the sort/organize project that has been the theme of my year. There are the bushels of physical belongings that I've blogged about but there is also a lot of electron belongings: files of manuscripts, notes, graphics etc and my email from inbox to archive and thousands of browser bookmarks.  But late night after a long day with morning on its way and no way I can just sleep in with Mom's wake up ritual my responsibility...is not conducive to efficiency.

    Distracting myself from the grief this way is also keeping sleep at bay and putting my whole sleep hygiene program at risk which puts my mental health at risk and would lead inevitably to having to go back on meds.  And I don't want that.  I don't want my thoughts and feelings wrapped in cotton candy and marshmallow cream again.  But I can't let sleep depravation take over my life again either.  So I've struck a compromise.  I'm taking the Trazadone at night for the days Mom is at home (Sunday night through Wednesday night and optional Thursday night as she leaves before lunch) but I'm not taking it on the weekends she spends at my brother's.  

    Those two calm days I had this week followed 8 hour sleeps induced by the Traz.  And yet I won't yet let that tempt me into a daily regimen as I refuse to be addicted/dependent on it again.  It messes with my vision which I cannot afford. It takes my eyes several hours after waking to be at what passes for their best.  It's not just my vision.  I'm clumsy also for hours after waking.  I'm sure the vision issue contributes to this but it isn't just eye-hand coordination.  It's like my brain isn't mapping where my body is in space and in relation to other objects and this includes muscle memory not just sensory input from my eyes.

    Which means productivity is down.  Waaaay down. Because mornings between Mom's wake up routine and lunch have been my 'office hours' so the work I had been doing then gets pushed back until Mom is in bed at 9 and when I've finally started getting productive work done on my WIP or the sort/organize projects or blogging I am tempted to push back the time for taking the Traz until it's nearly too late as I must give it nine hours to clear my system enough I can manage my morning duties with Mom by 9am. 

    But I can't call these weepy, wallowing weekends sans Traz productive either. At least not regarding WIP or sorting stuff.  This may not be sustainable long term but I'm hoping that giving the emotions permission to exist and express themselves will pay off in the long run as this is after all just another sort/organize project:  memories and emotions.  It is the repression of them that is often at the root of clinical depression and I know that has been one of my issues.

    Here's hoping that I can do without a wallowing weekend by the 24th.  Weepy I can tolerate for the read-a-thon as I have plenty of audio options.  The ugly cry and the choking sobs and gritted teeth, hiccups and hanky honks and tear soaked neckline and hugging pillows in the fetal position and burping swallowed air are all things I hope I'm ready to be done with by then or if not at least able to be distracted from for 24hours.  

    The Dewey Thon has been an integral part of my life since 2007 so I think in two weeks time grief can take a holiday for 24hrs.

    It will also be something I can do to honor Ed's memory and memories of some of our best times together.  It was in the high school library we first started hanging out together and developed a friendship around reading and philosophical debates.  One of our favorite activities was sitting side by side reading. He even participated in the first several of the Dewey Thons with me tho never for the full 24 hours he was very partial to his sleep he was.  

    So if I can set my mind to hold the space of the Thon as a space I'm sharing with Ed the way I knew him when he was still himself that could be a healing experience. 

    Backstory highlights and high and low notes:



    Read more...

    Thursday, October 08, 2020

    Good Grief - ROW80 - Preptober

     

    Bedwriting

    I haven't yet started the writing portion of my goals or the scavenger hunts in my files but I've done fairly well on the other aspects.  My primary focus has been on prepping for writing.  It is after all Preptober, the month we prep to make NaNoWriMo a success.  I tweaked the goal for the NaNo project though and by doing so have backed away from the rebel choice to rework a previous NaNo novel.  Instead I'm combining those characters with the characters from another previous NaNo novel and therefore creating a new novel.  See below in the goals section for details.

    Tho I've done a bit of the storydreaming for the novel my main focus has been on prepping my environment to facilitate writing.  Environment covers physical locations and physical objects but it also covers self-care and time-management.

    One of the things I've missed as my eyes deteriorate is writing by hand.  When I still worked on typewriters it was never on rough drafts so composing on the computers has always felt off--awkward, sterile, too much like editing even when I forbid myself to backspace or correct in any other way.  It tripled or even quadrupled my wordcount per session but the quality degenerated.  Or, let me qualify that.  The writing tends toward the quality of non-fiction when I'm composing on the screen.  Thus it works for Blogging and Journaling, Letters and Essays but it sucks the life out of fiction scenes.  I tend to write about the story instead of using all of the fiction techniques to tell the story. I've just come to accept that that is my shitty rough draft style working at the keyboard and depend on the rewrites to resolve it.

    Maybe it's just because composing with pencil on paper was the way I wrote my stories for the first thirty years that was the way my brain learned to enter and remain in the storydream while translating the dream onto paper. Who knows.  All I know is I miss the old magic and want it back.  So I set out over the last several months to figure out how to make it happen.  What did I need?  Could I get it or make it?

    What I have ended up with so far is a cozy little writing nest on my bed which is a mattress on the floor next to Mom's bed.  For a lap desk I'm using a cute decorated box from a craft store with vintage images of peacocks and butterflies.  It is shaped to resemble a book with the front cover being the lid and at 3 inches deep is just the right dimension to hold a nice pile of clipboards, notebooks and filler paper up to 8x11 inches and a scattering of pens and pencils.  But it was too hard for me to get the right angle of light such that I wasn't getting in my own light when bending over the page so I solved that by getting a lightbox to light the page from underneath. I can even write without turning on other lights.

    To augment my vision I also have reading glasses with 3.5x magnification and another device designed for crafting and hobby work which has a set of interchangeable lenses with magnification ranging from 1.5 to 5 (I think tho I may be remembering that high number wrong).  I got them for my fiber art work but soon discovered the 1.5 worked for reading the computer screen from a 'good posture' position.  But what makes them ideal for use for handwriting in iffy lighting is the little directable light positioned just above the nose.  They have also made it possible for me to read treebooks with regular print again for more than a few minutes at a time for the first time in years.  I meant to put them in the picture but forgot.  I'll probably make them the star of a future fiber art post.  Or maybe a post about vision aids.

    Another prepping activity that has been eating up the writing time is prepping my computers.  Both of my Windows computers have been acting glitchy for months.  The primary laptop a 15 inch HP went blue screen on me in July and freaked me out but it rebooted OK after a forced restart.  But that put me on a path to figure out a way to back up my files more reliably with less thinking about it.  Also while I was at it I wanted to figure out how to make changes to the same file from either computer without risking getting confused as to which one had the most recent new work or forgetting that I'd created new work on the HP that hadn't been saved to the external drive yet and then opening that file on the Acer Switch and adding new work.  What would I do then.  I could only have the external drive connected to one device at a time.

    I think I have solved those issues with a My Passport Wireless Pro.  I've had it for a month but haven't broke it out of the box yet. This is partly due to the fact tech tasks had always been something I turned over to my husband and tho I've gradually learned over the years of our separation to take on some of the simpler things it was always with guidance from him over the phone or vid chats the first time I tried something new or complex.  But I was determined to figure this out at the time I ordered it.

    It is just that that is when my 11 inch Windows Switch went glitchy and I have spent hours and hours trying to figure out how to fix it in the last couple months.  It seems to have choked on updates and hasn't had a successful one in nearly a year.  But it cut me off from access to admin tools like troublehooting and disc cleaning and Fresh Start which is a clean install of Windows 10 sans applications.  It also has trouble getting online and staying online which may contribute to the issues with installing updates.  It keeps warning me there are security and stability issues but reports back errors when I try the suggested task.

    Because the Switch was out of commission the HP has been doing double duty which meant I was overloading the RAM with all the extra aps and tabs open and pushing my luck putting off restarts because there was so much to tend to checking on each open tab for task completion state and making appropriate notes before closing them.  As October began the NaNo panic started closing in and I realized I could not depend on the HP to see me through it if I did not have a way to split the task load again.

    These are the things I used the Switch for:

    • Reading PDFs  With the keyboard detached and the now tablet held portrait style the reading experience was as comfortable as reading ebooks on my android devices but unlike the 7 inch Androids the Switch screen was big enough to have a whole PDF page on the screen with fonts big enough for me to see especially with higher magnification reading glasses.  This did away with having to scroll sideway for every line of the page.
    • Reading books borrowed from Internet Archive and Open Library.  Ditto explanation re PDFs.
    • Reading books borrowed from Libby/Overdrive with my library cards.  Not as necessary as for PDF as I'm set up to do that on two Android devices but it was still nice. Especially when I ran the battery down for both of those devices at the same time.  And reading the Libby books on the HP--actually any sustained reading on the HP--puts a crick in my neck and between my shoulder blades because it is too bulky and heavy to pick up and hold at the right distance and angle.
    • Watching/Listening to videos. Often while working on non-creative tasks on the HP such as file sorting, metadata fixing in calibre, email inbox decluttering, task list making.  Or maybe while playing a game on an Android tablet or crocheting.
    • Keeping up with current events via text and video.
    • Listening to music while working at other tasks on other devices or physical space decluttering, exercising on the mini-tramp (exercise is too strong a word as stand and sway is about the best I can do).
    • Writing.  Mostly at the kinds of writing that didn't involve making changes to projects on the HP.  Writing exercises like morning pages, sprints, prompts, notes and musings about one of the stories on the HP. Also journaling, email, social networking and blogging.  This worked especially well with cloud based aps like Google Drive, One Note, and Evernote. Because I could open the piece from the HP and copy/paste into the appropriate file.  It was also nice to be able to write elsewhere in the house as it was more mobile than the HP due to size, weight and battery life.

    There were a few more things I did with it but that is the heavy work it did and in the last weeks all of that gravitated to the HP and started pushing out the serious work.  Especially WIP in WhizFolders and Scrivener.  You see it is my habit of keeping tabs I'm planning to return to soon open in multiple aps which fills up the RAM and then as described above it becomes inconvenient to restart because the task of shutting down the aps is overwhelming so then the cache of the aps fills up and the computer gets slow and glitchy.  This was an issue with both the HP and the Switch even before the Switch went on strike.  It may also have been why the HP gave me the blue screen of death in July.  So even tho I've decided to replace the Switch this is an issue I need to work on in the category of self-management.  It is probably not conducive to productivity to have my attention always scattered that way.

    I replaced the Switch with a Windows 10 tablet sans keyboard.  I could get a keyboard that docks with it but it is a Bluetooth device and nearly a year ago I got a Bluetooth keyboard that works with all my Android devices as well as the Switch.  Not the HP tho as I goofed when ordering it in not realizing it was not Bluetooth and that irked me no end as I have Bluetooth speakers, earbuds, mouse and five Android devices which would be able to access my ebook library without USB and from any nearby room if only the HP had Bluetooth.  But as soon as I get the wireless external drive set up that problem is solved.

    Anyway the new Fusion5 Windows tablet arrived yesterday and I've spent many hours already getting it prepped for productivity: setting up preferences, learning my way around, introducing it to keyboard and mouse as I hate using the touchscreen for anything but a simple 'button push' act. Don't get me started on manipulating the taskbar or ap windows by touch.  I never got the hang of that with the touchpads either. 

    I've also added programs from the Windows Store because I discovered that it arrived in S Mode which means it will only install aps from the Windows Store. It provides a way to exit that mode but it is a done and done deal.  No going back. And they make it sound alarming by implying that only by staying in S mode can they guarantee the stability of your device.  

    But my productivity will suffer if I can't have the programs I'm used to.  The whole point of having two Windows devices was so I could have a more mobile one that could still work on the same aps like calibre, Scrivener, WhizFolders, Adobe Digital and Adobe Acrobat, Open Office, VLC video, Gimp, Doodly.  And what about Chrome and all of the Google aps including Google Drive.  All of my browser bookmarks and passwords are held by Google and accessible from all my Androids.  Why is that suddenly a problem for Microsoft?

    I made a serious effort to find Windows Store aps that could duplicate as many of the tasks as possible that I'm counting on the Fusion5 tablet for but I'm clear now I'm going to have to exit S mode.

    All of this has kept me enough distracted from grieving in the last couple of days that I've only wept quietly a few times. Today's tearing up was triggered once by encountering a tech conundrum and casually thinking I need to ask Ed about this and once by suddenly remembering in a moment when my attention wandered off a focused task that sometime today the funeral home had picked up Ed's body and moved it to the crematorium.  I will probably be getting a call tomorrow about next steps.  

    Am not planning any service at this time due to the Covid rules.  But I've already arranged with Ed's brother to transport the ashes to the Rogue Valley when they go down later this month for his mother's funeral and they will bury his ashes with her in the family plot up in the Applegate forest.  Groves of trees were his goto for stress relief.  I know he loved it there because he said so when we attended one of his cousin's graveside services thirty odd years ago.

    Stood on the scales before my shower today and found I've dropped 7 pounds in the 8 days since I learned of Ed's death.  So grief has an up side?  Good grief?!  Who knew.

    Backstory highlights and high and low notes:



    The writing challenge that
     knows you have a life

    NaNoWriMo 2020




    2020 Round 4 ROW80 and NaNo goals:


  • Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  This used to be a major challenge for me but I've got it managed since mid March.  Or at least I had until this past week.  Grief has taken a toll.
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- proven to provide a high yield return on investment as whenever I've practiced any of them it stimulates creativity, memory, and insight; lowers anxiety, and increases energy, stamina and a positive mood.
  • Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily MInimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream.
  • Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average
  • Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average 
  • Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  The autism diagnosis helps explain this but doesn't let me off the hook.  If anything it makes it more important.  Plus this is preparing the ground for future promotion once I'm ready to publish
  • 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  It's been years since I've made clean copies of manuscripts in my portfolios and for most of the noveling writing challenges I've never printed hardcopy.  That is a lot of words to mine as between 2004 and 2015 I participated in more than one such challenge per year-- Nanowrimo, Junowrimo, Camp Nano, ROW80 and Sweating for Sven.among them.  That is a lot of novella length WIP just gathering electron dust.  A conservative estimate is over 20.  I've been wondering for sometime now if the neglect of these stories after the challenges were over is at least partly responsible for the storyworld's elusiveness over the last several years.  I'm hoping that this exercise in honoring their existence will cure my character's recent shyness.
  • To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged.  This will take most of the Round as there are over 80. See Poems by Joy Renee Portal.  Another exercise in honoring old work to encourage new work.
  • Via the above mentioned Scavenger hunt: Collect everything resembling personal essay into a Scrivener file.  Either this will be added to the self-pup poetry ebook or will become the second ebook.  Or a combo of those options.
  • Personal Journaling 20 min or 500 words whichever comes first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.
  • NaNo Novel 1666 words per day on average. Am going to rebel a bit and bring back a previous NaNo WIP and rework it.  It is fitting because it's premise was rooted in the dynamics of my own marriage. I'm hoping this can be an exercise in grief processing. It's title is The Storyteller's Spouse and it was an exercise in 'unreliable narrator'.  The wife in my story is a YA novelist and the husband is a life-of-the-party natural born storyteller aka raconteur aka tall-tale-teller. I think the reason I got discouraged with the effort after that NaNo ended was because I had tried to lay all the unreliableness at the feet of the husband not realizing how much the wife's denial about the extent to which his storytelling was not confined to social gatherings put her squarely in the same camp. Older and wiser now.
       Am tweaking this goal to combine Storytellers Spouse with another story.  I had forgotten that I've made it a tradition since 2008 to write my election year NaNo in the same storyworld as Mobile Hopes which is set in a mobile home park called Hope Estates.  Each of the novels is set during its election year and the families in the park are living the issues that dominate the campaigns: health, jobs, housing, immigration, women's rights, law and order, climate change, race relations and so on.  Alll I have to do is have the characters move into Hope Estates and share the novel with several other families and I don't have a reworking of an old NaNo but a new story in the Hope Estates series. 
  • Read more...

    Sunday, October 04, 2020

    Sunday Serenity - Wallowing - ROW80 & NaNoWriMo Goals

     

    Ten Years In - 1989



    Ten Years Out- 2009


    I began the last round with the announcement that I'd just walked away from my 41 year marriage.  This round begins with the announcement that I will be a widow instead of a divorcee.  My last post relates how I got the news and a dream encounter with Ed that woke me right in the window of time the coroner estimates time of death.  Enough to give one goosebumps.

    I rejoined ROW80 last round after a several year hiatus.  I found as expected that it was invaluable in my efforts to process the grief over loosing hope in the viability of my marriage and essentially the loss of the companionship of my best friend.  One might think the last four months of grieving was a head start on what I'm faced with now but I'm not so sure.  Tho the mental and emotional sorting out I accomplished in that time may contribute to the sorting out going forward, I'm not feeling one whit better prepared for this blow just because I'd already begun the work of disconnecting myself emotionally from him to protect myself from the repercussions of his unacknowledged alcoholism.

    For one thing it was a reluctant choice.  I drug myself kicking and screaming internally into that choice.  And in order to accomplish the goal I had to harden my heart some just to cope with my days.  I had to break my addiction of thinking/fretting about him 24/7 so I practiced distracting myself with projects, chores, reading, writing, crocheting, sorting and organizing stuff and binge-watching videos and social networking.  This worked for the waking hours but left me vulnerable in the moments I lay down to sleep and first woke each day.  So I implemented the practice of a meditation in which I held him in Light and Love during those times.

    It seemed to be working too.  Right up until a week ago Friday morning when I woke from the dream I related in this post: In Memorium: Go Forth Ed and Be in Peace.  That shook me so deep it rocked me right back into nearly constant thought of him no matter what I tried to distract myself with.  But it was different than before.  There was none of the fretting and anxiety provoked nightmare scenarios playing out in my thoughts.  Instead I had been catapulted into the past and reliving memories of the early years.  The time when our happiness shed a light so bright it kept the looming shadows at bay until they gathered enough strength to overwhelm us.

    I was frustrated with myself for loosing my grip on 'the plan' to learn to recreate my life without Ed in it.  Something I'd never tried to imagine since 1977.  I wondered if the dream Friday morning had been triggered by the extra time I spent thinking about him and composing a email in my mind that I never wrote to wish him happy birthday.  Or the Happy Birthday I dropped in fb messenger and checked several times over the rest of that day to see if he'd seen it.  He never did.  Unless he spotted it in notifications without opening chat. 

    Then just after 2pm last Monday I got the news.  And everything has devolved since then.  It was slow at first.  The crying jags were brief and not too frequent.  My distraction tactics seemed to work to bring it under control.  Except at bedtime.  I didn't sleep Monday night as every attempt to pass the hypnogogic stage bounced me back out. I could not afford to let sleep deprivation get an inroad on my life again so I resorted to the crutch of Trazadone Tuesday night.  

    But wary of getting addicted again I skipped it Wednesday night and again did not sleep so I took it again Thursday.  I haven't taken it all weekend because Mom has resumed her weekend visits to my brother's so I gave myself permission to wallow.  To allow myself to feel the feelings and remember the memories and spend time gazing at pictures and processing my new reality and practice holding him in Light and Love.

    It was the realization of the finality that contributed to how hard this hit me. It was the final blow to the secret hope I'd been harboring even from myself.  I hadn't yet begun to believe it was really over.  And now it didn't matter whether I believed it or not.

    I think in the long run it is better than repressing it all and putting on a front.  But I can't afford all these sudden crying jags and long silent weeping spells and spotty sleep while Mom is home and she is due any moment.  She'll be heading straight to bed though and I plan to be ready for bed soon after that and I will take the Trazadone. 

    I came very close to passing on prepping this post but I was afraid it would lead to passing on ROW80 altogether.  I actually felt myself teetering that way in my thoughts.  A kind of 'what's the point' fatalism.  I decided that risk was too high, that I needed the symbolic power of proceeding to set my feet back on the path that gives my life meaning.  That is the only thing that will preserve the progress I've made over the past year.

    Backstory highlights and high and low notes:



    The writing challenge that
     knows you have a life

    NaNoWriMo 2020



    2020 Round 4 ROW80 and NaNo goals:


  • Sleep 7.5 hours Daily Minimum --  This used to be a major challenge for me but I've got it managed since mid March.  Or at least I had until this past week.  Grief has taken a toll.
  • Move/Breathe/Meditate 15 min Daily minimum  -- proven to provide a high yield return on investment as whenever I've practiced any of them it stimulates creativity, memory, and insight; lowers anxiety, and increases energy, stamina and a positive mood.
  • Storydreaming with note-taking tools at hand. 15 min Daily MInimum -- This is a technique I learned from Robert Olen Butler in the book From Where You Dream.
  • Read Fiction 30 min Daily Average
  • Read/Study Craft 15 min Daily Average 
  • Social network activities 30 min Daily Minimum (writing Joystory posts doesn't count only social reaching out like reading/commenting on other blogs, guest posts and posting to fb, twitter, pinterest etc) -- something I've a strong resistance to.  The autism diagnosis helps explain this but doesn't let me off the hook.  If anything it makes it more important.  Plus this is preparing the ground for future promotion once I'm ready to publish
  • 30 min Daily minimum engagement with a scavenger hunt though all my creative writing files including Joystory looking for better than shitty first draft scenes, sections, stories, poems and essays and edit, organize and make hard copies. --  It's been years since I've made clean copies of manuscripts in my portfolios and for most of the noveling writing challenges I've never printed hardcopy.  That is a lot of words to mine as between 2004 and 2015 I participated in more than one such challenge per year-- Nanowrimo, Junowrimo, Camp Nano, ROW80 and Sweating for Sven.among them.  That is a lot of novella length WIP just gathering electron dust.  A conservative estimate is over 20.  I've been wondering for sometime now if the neglect of these stories after the challenges were over is at least partly responsible for the storyworld's elusiveness over the last several years.  I'm hoping that this exercise in honoring their existence will cure my character's recent shyness.
  • To prep for self-pub: Gather all my poems into a single Scrivener file. Minimum one poem per day until all accounted for.  Adding new ones encouraged.  This will take most of the Round as there are over 80. See Poems by Joy Renee Portal.  Another exercise in honoring old work to encourage new work.
  • Via the above mentioned Scavenger hunt: Collect everything resembling personal essay into a Scrivener file.  Either this will be added to the self-pup poetry ebook or will become the second ebook.  Or a combo of those options.
  • Personal Journaling 20 min or 500 words whichever comes first Daily Minimum -- This is the heart of the writing challenge.  The preceding provides the structure and the nutrients that nurtures and honors the work which I've learned over time must exist to ensure that this becomes more than just dabbling.
  • NaNo Novel 1666 words per day on average. Am going to rebel a bit and bring back a previous NaNo WIP and rework it.  It is fitting because it's premise was rooted in the dynamics of my own marriage. I'm hoping this can be an exercise in grief processing. It's title is The Storyteller's Spouse and it was an exercise in 'unreliable narrator'.  The wife in my story is a YA novelist and the husband is a life-of-the-party natural born storyteller aka raconteur aka tall-tale-teller. I think the reason I got discouraged with the effort after that NaNo ended was because I had tried to lay all the unreliableness at the feet of the husband not realizing how much the wife's denial about the extent to which his storytelling was not confined to social gatherings put her squarely in the same camp. Older and wiser now.
  • Read more...

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