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Posts from the ‘Cathy’ Category

Cathy: I must be crazy

At the end of October, an old writing friend e-mailed to ask if I was going to do Nanowrimo again this year.

What I e-mailed back to him I cannot repeat here for the sake of children’s eyes, but it amounted to a firm No Way.

Last year, I drove myself insane. I resented when life took precedence in the form of repeated visits to the pediatrician for infinite reasons including the virus sent from the inferno below that I along with the entire family contracted, amidst the usual mayhem challenges to write that abound around here. I also wrote a whole lot of crap, of which I haven’t opened the document to see the results of and edit. The novel was supposed to take place in Ireland and 31,000 words in, the family was still on the plane from Logan Airport, crossing the Atlantic and playing gin.

I am currently STILL editing the novel I wrote before last year’s Nano, and barely have the time and headspace for that, let alone start another project.

But then I was in the shower one morning — the only time and space I have completely alone to sort out whatever might be going through my head with minimal distraction — and a funny thought occured to me, which included a nonsensical opening novel line I could take in any direction.

And as I said, no, no, no I will not NOT do Nano this year, the idea grew. A plan fell into place.

I couldn’t help it, by the love of all things chocolate with caramel. I have to do it now. But first I am setting some ground rules:

  1. Being likely a children’s novel, I will accept 35K words as a good win if that’s where it seems to end.
  2. I will not make myself crazy if life gets in the way. I have a very full life. I will not resent the vicissitudes and interruptions, because really Nano is an interruption to my everything else. And my everything else is mayhem enough, thank you very much.
  3. As long as it remains fun, is a catalyst for inspiration and I enjoy it, I’m in.
  4. As soon as I break any of the above, and it becomes not fun, I am out.

Inspiration is my game this time, not racing to the finish line.

Call me crazy, but I’m in. How about the rest of you?

[Crossposted from musings in mayhem]

Cathy: Finito!

[Editor’s note: Cathy suggested we just add a link to her last post to point to the finished product, but I think this accomplishment merits a full display right here, don’t you?]

The quilt is finished! Phew!

And Toots is very happy.

Final ironing and pinning stage to close the open, stuffing edge:

Here it is before I threw it in the wash, so I can put it on her bed tonight.

The stitching isn’t perfect, neither is the stuffing, but you know what? I did it. It’s my first quilt. I’m proud of it.
And Toots’s toes will not be hanging out the foot of it when she sleeps for a looong time to come.

Nope. They sure won’t!
And you know what else? Look at the look on her face in both shots. I’ll wait. Go ahead.
She knows I love her, big time.
[Crossposted from Musings in Mayhem]

Cathy: Trading words for stitches

It all started here, which led me back to the fabric store, which led to obsession. From which I have only slightly recovered, as I continue to quilt approximately an hour or so per day. Some days I skip. Others net four or five hours of poking myself in the finger with a needle and going blind from close up examinations of threading the needle or trying to find where it came out the back so I can tie it off and thread the needle again.

I am enjoying it, meditatively, methodically producing something of use and pretty, too. Toots can’t wait to wrap it around herself, sleep with it over her in bed.  She woves her kiwt so vewy much.

Some photos of the process, which is nearly complete:

Stage one, in pieces:

Watch the dates, folks, most of these were taken during the 48 hour endurance obsession initial weekend. Pieced together by evening, sorry it’s blurry, so was I:

Next morning, the border is completed.  I wanted to try fancy cornering, but then I said it’s good I got this far:

Blood was shed from my cuticle! twice:

(Addendum: That is my grandmother’s thimble!)
Back panel sewn and turned right-side out:

Lost a day to finding a fabric loop and oh yea, paying attention to my family.
Quilting begun:

See? Not perfect, but getting the hang of it.

Weeks later, I am still quilting.
Mr. Cynic took this on Tuesday:

What may not be readily apparent is that most of the quilting is complete. I’m in the final blue panel now. I also now have a better understanding why at one point in my glasses clad young adulthood, a guy in a bar thought, What are you, some kinda librarian? was a good pickup line. It wasn’t, but I can see why he said it.

[Crossposted from Musings in Mayhem]

Cathy: Back to writing

Yesterday, I met with my writing group. I had not opened my manuscript since the session I went to about month ago. I kind of feared where I was in it and was pleasantly surprised that I was at page 93 in my purple line edits. I won’t use a red pen — looks too much like violent spilt blood.

The significance of being at page 93 is that I was much farther along than I thought I was, and being a middle reader novel, I was darn close to the end. So guess what?

Yesterday, I finished my purple line edits.

Now to go into the document to make the changes official from the purple scribbles. Toward the end, my purple pen ran out of ink, so the end edits are in black, which is what I had in my purse.

Anyway, I feel good about the book, still. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve read it since I started it back at the dawn of time. At this point, the changes I was having trouble believing in, make better sense to me. The bottom line is I still cried while reading the end. My main character’s growth is evident.

And I love him. He has been growing up alongside my boys, as if he is one of them himself. Mr. Cynic was a year or so younger than him when I started, and is now in entering the halfway point of high school. Captain Comic was in preschool when I first wrote the 12-year-old into existence, and now he turns the age of my character in a bit over a week from now.

So, from here on out, I want to try to see if I can pick my way through the manuscript document, inserting the scribbles by day, instead of waiting for my writing group to meet in silence and commitment to writing. I am hoping that transferring the changes won’t take as much concentration as the purple lining did. I hope I can do it while my menagerie runs around the house.

Draft 2 (er 5,010) complete. Phew — kind of.

[crossposted from musings in mayhem]

Cathy: oh writing, let me count the ways…

…you can frustrate me:

1. my new printer won’t communicate with my computer, so I can’t print out the edits I did at writing group to read and redline a bit more by pages in hand.

2. you come to me in fits and starts while occupying half my concentration all the time.

…you make me do cartwheels, figuratively speaking, of course:

1. I love a new idea, it makes my heart race and my arms want to write or type in that very moment to the exclusion of all else. I get that tingly feeling like a teen falling in love.

2. I love rewriting, reworking, getting it right.

3. (Please let there be a 3 so the positive side can win today.) That netherworld feeling of one foot here, in the house with the kids and the laundry, and one foot there, in my imagination with my character and his family and friends and dog. This week has been hovering around 100 degrees outside and in my manuscript, it’s Thanksgiving in New England — bare trees, the beginnings of snow, nose reddening winds.

Ah, thank you writing, for the cool, cool breeze!

[Crossposted from musings in mayhem]

Cathy: Results!

Remember this list?

I spent the previous two days at writing camp with my writing group. Two whole days dedicated to writing. Yesterday I had a different meeting in the morning, but then I headed straight to  my writing camp’s day two, and thought I was going to have trouble, but amazingly got right to it! I seriously surprised myself by what I accomplished in the last 48 hours!

The List now looks like this:

DONE~continue to edit Joe out/Mike into Thanksgiving and Observatory scenes

DONE~write observatory scene using A. H.’s notes

Fixed~pay attention to name changes for T. B. and T. N.

working on~characterize supporting characters more through action and physical description

working on~make ‘thought bubbles’ action scenes or move them to more fitting scene

working on~edit down cooking relevance

mostly finished, maybe a bit more at the end~more on comets

I also edited it a bit more in making sentences and paragraphs more succinct in the first 50 or so pages.

I need to edit the observatory scene now, but at least it’s on paper – er, computer screen. I think my next stage is to print and edit again by hand. I read very differently on paper than on screen, and can see needed changes so much better.

I obviously need to be in a different environment than my office with my home distractions to be able to concentrate on my manuscript edits.

The other five women I sat in quiet with for the past two days expressed the same thing. Here’s the funny part: I thought it was because of my kids, etc, but only half of us have children at home, and of varying ages. I am the only one with a toddler or a special-needs child, of course, I have one of each. Two are grandmothers who live with their retired spouses, who are both very good at busying themselves. And one is home while her husband still goes to the office.

We’re all at a stage of editing a large work we’re committed to. All of our projects are middle reader or young adult novels. Yesterday we planned that the rest of our usual twice a month meetings for the summer will be devoted to writing, no critique.

This way, when autumn comes around, we will all have work to critique. How’s that for commitment? I couldn’t do this without them. I am so grateful to my writing group and to the time we commit to working together.

[crossposted from musings in mayhem]

Cathy: Caught writing

Last week I mentioned my new story idea that came up in the midst of my big edits I need to do on the first book.

Yesterday I had one of those rare creative spells in which, no matter the interruptions, I wrote steadily over the course of about 6 hours on the new idea.

I’m really enjoying it. That spark was what was missing in the edit draft two stage of the manuscript. I mean, I enjoy making the improvements, but it’s a slow road.

But having something else to be excited about is just plain fun.

So I will continue to edit when I have good uninterrupted chunks of time, as in when my writing group meets. But in the meantime, I’m going to have fun over here on this little idea in all the little moments I have between the usual family business.

Making stuff up is so much easier than fixing what I already have. And it’s fun. I feel like a kid with a kite. It’s time to fly.

After my prior whiney blog share, I felt compelled to crosspost from musings in mayhem something more positive on writing that happened shortly after.

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