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Posts from the ‘Cathy’ Category

Cathy: Editing Hump

This morning I had every intention of zipping along through a few hours of editing the final pages of my manuscript. My mayhem dictated otherwise.

1. Honey woke up late, and I didn’t feel like getting out of bed either, even though I heard the boys stirring downstairs. So we got off to a later start than usual. And then Toots slept in a bit and didn’t want to wake, and for about the third time in six years of living together, I woke up Grandma, who I knew had an earlier exercise class on Tuesdays, to ask her if she would take Toots with her so I could edit. And, by the way, Toots only wanted Grandma to get her out of bed this morning, too.

2. I was getting into the shower when the last family members to leave for the day were already out the door — that put me about an hour into the precious writing time.

3. I experienced a few technical difficulties that caused much smoke to emit from my ears and unsavory language to disembark from my mouth. Good thing I was home alone, but that did not prevent me from calling my tech support, Honey, at work to fume and swear in his general direction. Poor guy was working on a big project at work. Like he needed my vitriol in his ear at that moment, too. Thanks for putting up with me Hon, even though you didn’t really help and I ended up figuring out ‘go arounds’ myself.

4. I figured out ‘go arounds’ myself. Even re: stuff I didn’t bring up to my dear spouse.

5. I opened the Document.

6. I stared at it, knowing full well what I needed to do to it, and I stared at the critiqued copy which was telling me what to do with it, but apparently I did not have my listening ears on.

7. I called a fellow writing friend who thankfully was home sick from work up in Boston (how selfish of me, I know, but I did wish him to feel better, and he did help a lot with giving me a better perspective of why I was using a device that I was at the moment struggling to edit).

8. I listened to a couple of songs on youtube. Those youngsters today are making some good music. Please check out bands: A Day To Remember, Rise Against and Snow Patrol. Be forewarned, these are my rocknroller teen’s current favorite bands.

8.5 I whined on Facebook.

9. I kicked myself in the figurative butt and started typing.

10. I ended up pretty happy with what I got, and called my Boston writing friend again to confirm, and he gave me one more good piece of advice: put it dialogue instead of the main character’s thoughts. Actually, I think I screamed it over him as he said it, but it would have taken me longer to get to the realization if I hadn’t called Mr. Snuffles.

11. I saved it, in two places (always back up, lesson learned a long time ago when I was writing my thesis and my hard drive crashed taking my thesis with it, and I had 3 days and nights to cobble it all back together from old notes while hallucinating from sleep deprivation) and then

12. Grandma walked back in the door with Toots.

So I will finish the last few pages another time, maybe when Toots goes down for nap. Or tomorrow morning before I go to work…

I guess, I’m saying (and I have to thank the same friend in Boston for this one, too): “Whatever you’re meant to do, do it now. The conditions are always impossible.” ~Doris Lessing

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Crossposted from Musings in Mayhem

Cathy: Writing, Editing, and Not

This post is kind of a way for me to work out hitting a wall in my manuscript.

All I want is to finish it. In my heart, I still love it. But after so many edits, this edit is really a bore to do. In my house, two kids are gone for a month, including the most distracting one. In and around my house is a lot of neglected house stuff, largely due to my trying to focus on the manuscript.

When I try to write at home, even if I have my mother-in-law take the 3-year-old out of the house for a couple of hours, invariably I putz around finding other things to do until, lo and behold, they return, and I haven’t even pulled the critiqued manuscripts out of my tote bag. Like the day last week, when Toots decided waking up throwing up was the way to go that day rather than out of the house with Grandma. I sank her into the couch with Netflix streaming kid videos, and the next thing I knew, I found myself hacking branches in the yard in 100 degree heat, because that apparently was immensely preferable to actually finishing my novel.

And I had a good session on it the day before when I did my usual Tuesday routine of packing everything up and taking it to the library to edit. Okay, so the next day, off to the library I went, and knocked through two chapters in a fairly painless edit session.

As I write this, I look back over this very morning, noting that, yes, I had an early doctor appointment, from which I left a bit upset, mostly just burnt out on doing the specialist shuffle, so I gave myself permission to see another human being, I mean tea chat with a friend, and then another friend who is back in town visiting from far far away showed up, and finally I trotted myself off to the library. I couldn’t settle in as the place was teaming with people, and then the summer camps came tromping through in droves, so I turned right around, having never even opened the laptop. Read more

Cathy: Breakfast

The other morning, I brought the corn husk materials from last night’s dinner out to my compost pile. I perused the pickings around the peas. I popped one pod in my mouth. I’ll let the others linger and grow another day or so. I strolled by my little swiss chard piece of a plot in front of the okra, and was struck with an idea for breakfast. I picked a few leaves thinking of combining them with eggs, and considered what else to add as I reentered the house.

Last week’s storms broke Grandma’s hanging tomato plant. The remaining tomatoes are ripening on our kitchen counter.

I chopped some garlic as I started to scramble the eggs. I gave the swiss chard a few licks with the knife and tossed those in. I took a small tomato from the opposite counter and did the same — a little salt and pepper later, and voila!

Garden-fresh swiss chard and tomato scramble, from garden to plate.

This is why I love to garden. Everything you grow yourself inspires and tastes better, from plant to table in 10 minutes.

Crossposted from musings in mayhem.

Cathy: Love and writing

I really do often feel stuck between what I “should” be doing instead of writing, and my writing. If I don’t put it first right now, I will only be a resentful pig of a mother and wife. And that’s the truth. Plain and simple.

So yesterday, when I needed a moment in the midst of writing, I doodled this instead.

It’s really almost done. This is the final push. So if my family sees less of me, if you see less of me around the blogosphere, etc., this is why. I am hard at work. I will be back in my family’s life more when I can focus on them better because I will not be dissecting and rearranging a manuscript in my head during our interactions.

And that’s it.

[Cross-posted from musings in mayhem]

Cathy: Rebirth

Duck, NC, 1.14.2011

This time of year is so odd. For most of the Northern Hemisphere, and certainly for my own 40 years lived in New England constitution, the world lies most fallow, yet there are hints of the promise of spring. The renewal of the land.

In Ireland, it is the celebration of the birthing of the lambs, the burgeoning of dairy abundance, the harrowing of the fields. St. Brigid’s Day celebrates the creative fire that burns within all of us of poetry, childbirth and craftsmanship, esp of iron.

Chinese New Year is now, the time of the seedlings underground, and the promise of abundance crops. The sun is returning, and so the fire within burns a little brighter.

Now, when winter can be so brutal, we find signs in a random clear bright day that assures the sun has not forsaken us after all.

Here, in this most wintery winter since I’ve lived in Virginia, last week I saw robins flocking in the trees. A raven cackled at me from high up in a tree whose branches were tipped in buds. Some of my gardening friends reported daffodil sightings. Mine have not made an appearance.

This weekend I went out to a handful of events, obviously overscheduled. I missed spending time with my family, I missed the rarity of hours spent with Honey. But I took time to pay attention to myself at two different meditations, and to have fun with friends.

I wore myself out, also because once again Honey and I squeezed in a Home Depot date on Saturday afternoon, too. But I needed to take time to find my focus again and these meditations really worked. I found my personal strength and was reminded that my personal strength isn’t only for giving away to everyone else. I need to keep some reserves for myself in order to focus well on my writing and finish the manuscript.

I went through a period toward the end of 2010 in which I started taking better care of myself physically, but let it drop off again, various reasons, the main being that I am allergic to the first gym altogether. Then in joining the local Y, I found I was allergic to their workout room and their yoga classes were inconveniently scheduled during my precious writing time. And then it was too cold to consider waking up before dawn to go swim laps and freeze in the winter morning air with wet hair.

But now, it is beginning to warm up. I ache all over again when I wake up in the morning, and all day long. This ache will never completely go away, I have Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, and I am aging. I have a significant lack of collagen to take care of my muscles, even less now that I age. I am more prone to muscle injuries and not so great in the healing department. But when I take the time to exercise, whether I do laps in the pool, or walking around the neighborhood, it makes a huge difference. Not just in my muscles and posture, but in my mental and spiritual well-being.

The meditations and the game night Saturday with friends I rarely see, took me out of my daily rut and into my interior to wake up my creativity and sense of purpose.

Honey and I have planned and he started some spring household projects — mended the porch rail himself while I was out and about yesterday. And he did the taxes, which will net us a much-needed return. For this, I thank him. He’s my guy.

We’re going to build some storage solutions and a partition in Mr. Cynic’s room in order to move the boys in together, and move Toots into currently Captain Comic’s room. I’m going to milk paint some antique twin head and footboards for Toots, and sew new curtains for both rooms.

Honey and I agree it’s definitely time to move our little miss nearly three-year-old out of our room. That decision has definitely begun a sense of renewal for our relationship.

So you can see, not just this weekend, but leading up to it, I’ve been doing some harrowing of the fields of all the acreage of my life.

1. In writing, I am rewriting for the third time my little novel with the purpose in mind to send it out come spring.

2. Shifting around and taking care of the house.

3. Will also take care of Honey’s and my relationship.

4. The changing of the season is renewing my health needs, mentally, physically and spiritually, not just so I can take care of others and contribute more for their well-being — mainly I mean the kids, but that in taking care of my personal strength, I will be giving myself the gift of self-respect and confidence to be who I really am and accomplish what I set out to do. All of it, with a clear head.

Is any one else finding themselves in this place of assessment and focus on change for a better life?

[Cross-posted from Musings in Mayhem]

Cathy: New favorite thing

Please forgive me if my sentences make no sense today. I had a cahrazy weekend, which included Honey’s birthday, on which I barely saw him. It was a good weekend, a celebratory weekend, but I have been having a cold coming on for a few days, and I think it hit me full force today, when I can finally rest, while catching up and critiquing two manuscripts for tomorrow’s writing group, that is. How’s that for a run-on?

Oh, and for some unknown reason, Captain Comic has decided that somewhere between 3 am and 4:30 am is primo wakeup and run back and forth with lights on and doors slamming time.

Anyway, in time for the December challenge, one of my old writing friends from my Boston days turned me on to a new writing tool. It works like Julie Cameron’s Morning Pages from The Artist’s Way, but it’s online. It’s typed. It’s private, and you can let your mind wander for 750 words, the equivalent of three pages. And you don’t have to find that notebook or pen. I think most of us are sitting in front of a screen these days anyway, right? And it gives me a community of people who are also writing, whether or not I make any more of a connection beyond just knowing they are out there somewhere doing the same thing: http://750words.com.

I am a horrible typist. It takes me about 20 minutes per day to meet the 750, averaging about 35-40 words a minute. all typos are left in place. I try not to go back and correct. I don’t think about what I’m writing, I just let the garbage fall out of my brain through my fingers tips and up onto the screen.

Usually about three quarters of the way in, I hit my stride and there’s at least a phrase if not an idea that I like or that I can work with in something else, later.

Here’s the thing:

When the boys were younger, and I was single and working three part-time jobs to support them, when I woke up in the morning, I put the baby gate across the kitchen doorway of our little condo, got the coffee started, and while it brewed, I started my morning pages with pen and notebook amidst the dulcet tones of Captain Comic hanging on the opposite side of the gate, rattling it and screaming for my attention, Mr. Cynic momming me, and the themes of Blues Clues or Bob the Builder running from the tv in the background. After a few months, they got that I was not going to give them the time of day during “Mommy’s morning pages.”

And that’s when I started writing my almost finished editing this draft manuscript — later in the day, somewhere between job number one and the first school bus arrival, I had 30 minutes in which I wrote the first thirty or so pages of this book. But I was only productive on that if I had been productive earlier by getting through the mess of my daily concerns to hit the subconscious, where the better writing sprung from, like an underground spring of fresh water. First I had to clear away the mud.

So why have I not been writing or editing what I really want to be working on lately?

I think the key is in these morning pages. I think it’s in getting the garbage out of my head. It only takes me 20 minutes, so why not? Here I am, doing it online. And this site has some interesting tools to help you see what mood you’re writing in, for instance. Or what words you repeat, or what senses you are using, and how dominantly you write in one over another. It also has a healthy dose of competition that fuels some of us to write. For me it’s much needed accountability. I highly recommend it: http://750words.com.

C’mon….you know you want to.

 

Cathy: Weekword — pyrophoric

I am hosting the Weekword Challenge this week and hope you’ll join in on the fun. Weekword is a creative challenge that gets passed around the internet and each week a new blogger is asked to host and chooses a new word to inspire others to share their response. You can do anything: from poetry to photography to pottery to pensive ramblings. Whatever happens is good as long as it prompts you to do, to make, to create and then to share.

pyrophoric

I flipped open my old red Merriam-Webster, and found this week’s word. I like it. It’s sparkly. In fact the official meaning from Dictionary.com is

py·ro·phor·ic /ˌpaɪrəˈfɔrɪk, -ˈfɒr-/ [pahy-ruh-fawr-ik, -for-]–adjective Chemistry .capable of igniting spontaneously in air.Origin: Gk pyrophór ( os ) fire-bearing ( see pyro-, -phorous) + -ic

Dictionary.com Unabridged. Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2010.

World English Dictionary

pyrophoric (ˌpaɪrəʊˈfɒrɪk)— adj1. (of a chemical) igniting spontaneously on contact with air2. (of an alloy) producing sparks when struck or scraped: lighter flints are made of pyrophoric alloy[C19: from New Latin pyrophorus, from Greek purophoros fire-bearing, from pur fire + pherein to bear]

I hope it sparks something in you! (I couldn’t resist.) Please add a comment here to indicate if you are participating and I will post a link to your blog on Friday to share with with others.

Have fun!

crossposted from musings in mayhem

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