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
Crossposted from Musings in Mayhem
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
Yesterday my 3-year-old son discovered the camera. Now, given that his father and I are both photo obsessed (to the point that we have weekly photo dates and are signed up for a photo retreat together this March) the only really surprising thing is that Gabe hasn’t picked up a camera sooner. I do have to put in a little disclaimer here, that the camera he picked up was our point-and-shoot Fuji, not one of our two DSLR cameras. So instead of freaking out and yelling “PUT THAT THING DOWN NOW!” I was like, “Go nuts, kid.” And he did.
For the last day and a half he has been snapping pictures of anything and everything, from the pantry cupboards to our cat (many, many pictures of the cat), his grandmother, his Ikea crawling tube, rocks, and his own shadow. He especially seems to like extreme close-ups, which come out in a cool blur of color. At one point he was closing in on his sippy cup and his grandma said something like “Don’t do that dear, it won’t look good,” and I practically jumped down her throat. OK, not quite that bad. But I did tell her to let him have his experiments. We’re in the digital age, he can take as many pictures as he wants!
After a day and a half of photo taking, he had filled up the memory card. Here is where I thought the hard part would come. I wanted to teach him about the most important part of photography — editing. So I loaded all his photos onto the computer and asked him to give me a “yes” or “no” as to whether he liked each image. What surprised me was how a string of “no”s came out easily. He kept his favourite subjects (the cat, grandma, his Ikea crawling tube) and quickly nixed anything that he didn’t love. I ended up over-riding his “no” a couple times when I wanted to keep an image. After all, it’s my baby’s first photo shoot! And that shot of the cement tiles was really cool!
And what I have now is really priceless. A collection of images, literally from my toddler’s point of view. I get to see the world from his perspective. And it’s chaotic and swirly and beautiful. And it may just be that I am biased because his father and I are both artists, but I think this first venture into photography shows his already acute artistic eye. But then, all children are artists. We only cease to be artists when we cease believing in our art.
So here again I can learn from my son. I can see his joy in capturing the moments of his day, and it is a reflection of the joy I feel when I look at my world through that lens. It reminds me why I love photography so much. Because in that process of re-framing your world, you become child-like in wonder at the smallest thing. That awe, that connection to the world around me, is why I keep coming back to my camera. It is meditation in motion. And I am so excited that now my son gets to have that experience with me.
…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]
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]