Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Plethora of Thoughts

On Doctors

July marked the two year anniversary of moving into this house, as well as my first ever surgery. I had my appendix removed and while they were at it, they fixed a hernia I didn't know I had and removed a cyst on my ovary. That experience is why I refuse to go to doctors now. It wasn't because of the doctor, the nurses, or the hospital. They were great. It was because of my experience recuperating. Never, ever, ever again will I put myself in a position where I can't do anything but lay in my bed for a few weeks.

I know that is a silly thing to say, since I can't control things like freak accidents and whatnot, but it's still how I feel. Probably because I was having a pity party while cleaning my neighbor's house today. Some days you feel how you feel. I was feeling glad I could go help my sweet neighbor who has MS and can't do things for herself. And I was wishing that someone had helped me when I needed it a couple of years ago when I was laid up in bed surrounded by boxes of things needing unpacked, kids bored out of their minds who were always hungry, always fighting, and always bouncing on my bed, and in a house that wouldn't clean itself. 

What's done is done, and there's no point in reliving the past. Things make us stronger, right? Today it was on my mind, though, and I realized that is part of why I refuse to go see doctors now. Reading back over this, it still sounds like a pity party. Ah well. It's out, and I've vented.

On Books

I have been reading a lot lately. I read to escape, I read to experience things, and I read to learn. I am trying to figure out how authors get me hooked, what their successful techniques are, and how they do what they do.

My current reading list consists of: Anything by Carrie Vaughn, Patricia Briggs and Molly Harper. Patrick Rothfus' "Name of the Wind", John Brown's "Servant of A Dark God", Myke Cole's "Shadow Ops", Howard Tayler's "Extraordinary Zoology", and Brandon Sanderson's "Warbreaker." It's a lot of books, but I tend to devour books when I'm in a reading mood, so it doesn't take me long to go through them.

Usually what happens is I get sucked into the story and then have to go back and re-read to analyze and learn from the book.

Take, for instance, the Carrie Vaughn "Kitty" series. I'm on book four currently. "Kitty and the Silver Bullet."  I LOVE these books. I love Kitty. I love the playlists that Carrie puts at the beginnings. I love the stories.

*SPOILER ALERT* I read book three last night and was so annoyed and angry and sad that Kitty and Ben are now a thing, because I really, really, really wanted Kitty and Cormac to be a thing. And I knew that was coming because I'd read "Kitty's Greatest Hits" and knew from Cormac's point of view all about that development. But I was still really upset about it.

So I stayed up all night reading book four just to see how that was going to play out. And I completely related with Kitty. I felt that same way the first time I miscarried. "Ever not know you want something until you can't have it?"  That line was me twenty one years ago. But I was still annoyed that it was with Ben and not with Cormac. It's a good thing I'm not in Carrie's reading group or her Critique Partner, because I would have flipped out at her about that change.

The reader in me loves that she can evoke this kind of response from me. The wannabe writer in me is analyzing how she does it so well. I want my characters and stories to have that kind of affect on readers.

On Writing

In terms of word count, I haven't done an awful lot of writing on Catch The Sun this summer. In terms of research, worldbuilding, and figuring out plot points, character decisions and motivations, I've done a ton of writing on Catch The Sun this summer. I've also done sketches of important places on various planets and worlds.

I'm also participating in a research study on writing, for which I am writing something new. I'm not sure how much I should say about it, except to mention that I'm sort of retelling Mother Goose in a sci-fi kinda way in a series of short stories. As part of that project, I'm reading the original Grimm's Fairy Tales (as original a version as I can find) as well as the old original Mother Goose rhymes.

I write for an hour a day on the new project. Additionally, I write plot outlines, I write character sketches, and I write "why-isms" to figure out technology, why a character would be doing something. I have been playing around with various personality traits for some of the characters. At first I thought I'd make Bo Peep kind of tough. After writing her out, I think she's more shy and easily embarrassed. Not saying she can't be tough, but she's not jaded or cynical or hard.

I think I have just as much backstory written as I do story, but that's a good thing. I don't know the answer to every question, I outline vaguely and then write to discover the details. I'm feeling happy with the writing, though. And I'm really excited about it. I'll be even more excited when I actually finish something.

On Artwork

I joined an artist critique group to try to motivate myself to do more artwork. Because I obviously don't have enough to do during the day as it is, even with my waning energy levels. But for as many stories there are bouncing around in my head waiting for their turn on paper, I have just as many illustrations and pictures waiting to be drawn or painted or sculpted. In fact, I have actual sketches of some of my book characters that I have roughs of, that I want to post to the art board.

The obvious next line is: So post them.

My hesitation is: But they're roughs. I should post something more finished, more clean, more complete.

Not sure how I'm going to make myself DO anything productive if I don't actually make an effort. I know what my Mother Goose characters all look like. I know how I want them drawn. I just have to actually DO it. Posting roughs might just make me more embarrassed and more inclined to quit. But as it is, I've not finished or completed one yet, so... catch-22

I asked James Owen how he managed his time between writing and drawing, and he said he worked on what he felt like working on. He outlined his story, jotted down little thumbnail ideas for chapter illustrations, and then when he felt excited about those, he'd start drawing them and finalizing them. That would then make him feel more excited about the story, so then he'd go write. Until he came to the next chapter and it's corresponding illustration and when compelled, he'd switch and do art again.

I like that idea, that sounds like a working plan that I would do well with. I haven't yet been able to actually successfully incorporate that, yet.

I should probably finish the props for the play, first. But still. I can't stop sketching, and I can't stop writing, nor can I stop reading. And somewhere in between all of that, I have to make sure chores get done, kids get fed, Girl Scouts is planned, meetings are attended, clients are footzoned, yardwork gets ... attended to?, and kids are taken care of.

Ah the various things that are priorities in my life. The challenge is to make them all fit into my days and weeks so that I do the things that need doing and still get to do stuff that fills my own personal bucket and makes me happy.

Sometimes finding that balance is hard.

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