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Jana and I went by City Hall today to stare down our opponent (the taller building, the one on the right). Twenty-eight storeys is ... tall. Really, really tall. It's one thing to know intellectually that yes, a twenty-eight storey building is going to present something of a challenge. It's another to stand there at the foot of the building, and stare up, and up, and up, and up. To imagine one's self at the top of that height, with nothing but some ropes and a climbing harness to keep from succumbing to gravity.

Rappelling from a twenty-eight storey building? We must be crazy. But it's an awesome sort of crazy.

I have never done anything like this in my life. I'm not the sort of person who naturally gravitates towards activities such as lowering one's self off the side of tall buildings with a rope. I hate rock climbing. I am generally cautious, even hesitant. I do not tend to pursue activities that might risk my life and limbs, because, well, I'm rather fond of them.

And yet from the very moment that I first read the announcement that City Chase was going to be holding a rappel from City Hall, I felt the desire to be that person -- if not the daring, adventurous sort, then at least someone who can recognize a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and pursue it. Someone who can do something awesome, amazing, memorable -- not without fear, but in spite of it.

So here I am. Jana and I (aka Writers With Day Jobs) made our fundraising target with the help and support of some truly amazing people. ($2,500 in a week and a half -- and here we thought it impossible.) Three days to the rappel, and counting.

I am genuinely terrified of this prospect. True fear. Last week I had a few days where just thinking about it was enough to make my appetite vanish, and give me trouble sleeping. When I think about what I'm going to do, my stomach tightens like a fist.

I believe that the moment where I have to go from standing on a solid building to hanging over the edge with 300 feet of empty air beneath me will probably be one of the most frightening things I'll ever choose to face. I fully expect that before I start, I will be trembling hard enough that I'll have difficulty standing -- and that when I reach the bottom, I won't be able to stand at all.

But as afraid as I am, I feel excitement in equal measure. No, that doesn't even quite cut it. Joy, perhaps. Something bright and thrilling. It's ... it's going to be totally amazing. Unforgettable. And I'm not going to let the fear keep me from that.
I have barely been online for the better part of a year. I haven't read LJ in nearly as long, and manage perhaps a few hours to peek at Facebook during the week. I don't know what's happening in non-local friends' lives. My Christmas cards are still in their packaging. I am so hopelessly behind on email correspondence that I don't know where or how to begin new conversations or repair relationships. I don't have time do to all that needs doing.

But, y'know ... the Olympics start today. I do so love the Olympics, and as I will probably want to say something about something related to the Olympics over the next while, I thought it might be better to say something than simply break my silence with "Okay, what the hell was up with that last bobsled run?! Come on, people! You have two jobs: running on ice, and NOT FALLING OUT OF THE SLED."

So where have I been? Briefly:

Working (which I'm not much inclined to talk about, neither the good nor the bad).

Writing. I finished the draft of my still-untitled first novel in May of 2009 (or perhaps the very beginning of June ...?) and am working on some very large rewrites. 126,000 words. One day I hope to recruit some critiquers to help me with this thing, which I love and despair of in equal measure.

Dancing. In the summer I was (very unexpectedly) asked to join Toronto's first (and I believe most awesome) American Tribal Style (ATS) bellydance troupe, Shades of Araby. Was I remotely ready? Well, no, but one member was pregnant and moving away, and they figured they could kick me into shape within a reasonable timeframe, so there we were. So a great deal of my time has suddenly been going to lessons, troupe practice, making costumes, and yes, performing. (Danced my first solo the other week, in a rather crowded -- and intimate -- public venue. Terrifying and fun at the same time.)

But the big thing? That's been the food. Food has taken over my life.

Since May, I've been on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet, designed for people with Crohn's and Ulcerative Colitis and other such lovely things ... and, apparently, people like me with impossible-to-diagnose digestive problems. I truly can't say enough about this diet. It has given me my life back. But it has also taken over a significant portion of every single day just in food prep. In short, I'm not eating complex carbohydrates in any quantity -- no grains, no sugar or sweeteners (except honey), no starches. There is nothing at all pre-prepared that I can eat, and I spend about three hours every day, minimum, on food prep, eating, dishes ... and I had three jobs for much of the last year. I've had to learn to cook, and yes, I still feel like a culinary genius when I make hollandaise sauce and mayonnaise and all the rest (perfectly, I might add).

Sometimes, being on this diet can be hard, and I would not give it the massive amount of time and energy it requires if it didn't work. In fact, I've called it miraculous. It won't be forever, but it will be for a good long time as I heal, and so I have officially become the most difficult person to feed or eat with. Unless, of course, you're serving steak and lots of it. (I am, by the way, very open to discussing the diet, food in general, recipes, etc. -- questions, comments, whatever -- but please know that my choices in this regard are not open to debate.)

So. That's me, and this is a warning that if I manage to be around more in general (as I hope to be), I will generally be talking Olympics and food. I know better than to make promises, but ... well, we shall see.

A Week of Quality and Distinction

This past week was fabulous, though I remain busy enough that writing about all the excellent things has to wait until odd hours. That's okay, in a sense: I do like making my actual life and the people around me priorities over time spent on the internet.


Monday's my bookstore day, and lo, what did I find on the new releases shelf upon my arrival but the anthology Ages of Wonder, which contains my story "Written in Smoke". Go story publication! (And yes, as far as I'm concerned the story should be a novel, but I've already got a novel I need to finish, and the amount of research to write the novel version is downright frightening, but hey, a published story's a published story.)


I cut my hair -- a joyful event worthy of note because A) couldn't afford a good haircut since August, and B) I got bangs! Which, according to everyone to give me feedback thus far, was a really good move.

Odd side effect: people also think I dyed my hair, but no, it's been this shade of mahogany since I hennaed it last in January.

Also, Tuesday was tribal bellydance class. It is joy.


... Nothing happened on Wednesday. Poor Wednesday.


... But Thursday made up for Wednesday's lack, by being awesome in two ways:

1) I worked from home. I cannot explain to you the joy of being able to write this documentation in my own lovely quiet apartment rather than in a busy office. Productivity was at an all-time high.

2) I received notification that my grant application to the Canada Arts Council was successful.

Let me say that again. I got a grant. From the CANADA ARTS COUNCIL. (!!!)

Better yet: so did Jana.

And then we just about died of shock. Because, really. Professional Writers' Grants. From the Canada Arts Council. This wasn't open to just local folks; this was the whole freaking country and they gave money to Jana and me! I applied just because it's a thing you do, like people play the lottery without actually believing that they'll win.

And oh, sweetness abounds, and the Year of Possibility continues to live up to its name.


Friday was a Friday, with all the joy that such days contain, and Leah and I went out and discussed novels and ate a ridiculous amount of Japanese food, and that, my friends, was my week.

Good times.

Status Update

In short, it goes like this:

(Existing bookstore job + extra shifts to cover absences) + new on-site technical writing job + existing contract proposal writing obligations = all work, all the time.

Ah, how familiar.

However, things will balance out to something more sustainable shortly. In the meantime ... I remind myself that I like being able to pay my rent and buy food, and this will allow me to continue to do both. (Also, I get this Saturday off!)

That is all.

Vitamin D: A Public Service Announcement

I've been preaching this gospel for two years now, and it goes something like this: Do you live in a place where there's winter? Do you have a job or lifestyle that requires you to be inside much of the time, and/or work at night? Please, please consider taking vitamin D supplements.

Why? Because taking vitamin D not only combats Seasonal Affective Disorder -- hugely important to those of us in northern climates, who see so little of the sun half the year -- but there is some evidence that it may also help prevent cancer and reduce your risk of heart disease, and has recently been linked to a lowered incidence of MS. I will let the CBC tell you more. (And Google can lead you to piles and piles of articles, study abstracts and press releases on this topic.)

Of course, I cannot speak to such claims. What follows is only anecdotal evidence, but it’s mine, and what I’ve experienced is enough to make me preach vitamin D to friends and acquaintances and random passers-by -- enough to make me type this rather than working on my book as I should be.

Physically, I do not respond well to cold temperatures, short and dark days, or winter in general. For years, I experienced symptoms of Seasonal Affective Disorder -- without really knowing or realizing that that's what was happening. It never occurred to me that the fact that I became convinced each winter, every winter, like clockwork, that I was a poor excuse for a human being, with no one who loved or cared for me, etc., etc., was a sign that something was wrong.

I have spoken in the last few days to friends who have also started taking D regularly (including one who works nights), and their experiences are much the same as my own: it feels like a miracle. I type to you now in early February, a time in years past when I often had trouble forcing myself out of bed at all, felt slow and heavy and lethargic, had trouble laughing or smiling -- had trouble at times even remembering that there were things worth smiling about. Now, with my 1,000 IU a day? I feel fine. Bloody cold, mind you, but not feeling as if I'm an inherently worthless person.

And that, dear readers, is so totally worth the $6.00 I paid for the vitamins.

I'm all for bright lights, and sit (or stand blissfully, like a spaced-out moron) in the sunlight whenever it's here. I'm not saying don't find or use a full spectrum light (unless you’re at particular risk for skin cancer, in which case be careful); I'm saying even if you use a light, take the supplements too. If you're drinking more milk to get the added vitamin D, or eating lots of salmon and eggs for the D there -- yay, smart plan! Still take the supplements.

Vitamin D supplements are very small, cheap, and easily swallowed or crushed. They also sell vitamin D drops these days, which can be added to food or drink. Supplements are easily and widely tolerated, quick to take, and rather difficult to overdose on.

I have no medical background or expertise, but my own experiences and those of my family and friends are what let me say: just try. Perhaps you'll find it's a miracle too.

F-R-I-E-D. Fried!

So how fried is my desktop computer's hard drive?

So fried that it would not listen to a boot CD or disk for Windows, Linux or DOS. So fried that when my father attempted to make it a slave drive in a absolutely fine computer, it fried that one, too. (Oops.) So fried that the once it managed to boot to DOS (days and countless attempts later), all it would say is that all the files that once graced it are now gone, gone, gone.

So. That could be better. Also: it seems I'm unnaturally hard on hard drives. I'm at three dead computers over the last few years.

Anyway, so it goes.

Novel 2, Computers 0

My novel has claimed its second victim: this time it's my desktop computer.

The poor thing was (is) getting a bit old and sludgy, so it wasn't entirely surprising when it decided not to boot up. (Inconvenient, yes; surprising, no.) Luckily, when it went down, it only claimed 1,271 words of novel, and I have great hope that once I'm able to get my hands on a boot disk, I can get it to start up long enough to save those words and a few other files that didn't have external backups (like, say, a half-finished novel critique). And, with any luck, if I can get it to turn on again, I can repair the hard drive sufficiently that it'll live for a little while longer. (We can also see that recent modifications to my food plan are indeed helping, as I'm oddly unfazed by the whole thing.)

I think I have about 20,000 words still to write; hopefully the Curse of Computer Death will spare my dear secondhand laptop at least that long.

Naming Another Year

The Year of Transformation truly lived up to its name.

I know that 2008 was hard for many people, but oh, how I loved this past year. Over the course of those twelve months, I managed to make changes that took me from being a very unhappy, overstressed, exhausted and overwhelmed person, constantly angry as anger was the only thing that kept me from breaking down crying, to someone who is truly, honestly, and unequivocally happy.

In 2008 I left my day job. I wrote about three quarters of a novel; ignoring all the deleted bits and spare files, I have a book that is currently 84,000+ words, and which is beginning to rush full-speed towards its ending. I received a writing grant. I had time and energy to read more than a book a week. I started learning tribal bellydance, and haven't stopped dancing in the kitchen since. I took vacations with friends, to their cottages and mine. I was staff at Alpha (and was conscious for it this time around), and took various trips to the States. I began taking freelance proposal writing contracts. I took the first steps towards dealing with ongoing health problems, with noticeable results. I spent time with family and friends.

The clouds in my brain have parted, and I can think again. I can laugh without the edge of hysteria, or bitterness, or exhaustion; and sleep without waking in a panic over all the things needing to be done. I can create. I like being this person so much better.

And hopefully she can stay. I've named 2009 the Year of Possibility. From fabulous success to bankruptcy and ruin, and everything in between, I feel like anything can happen. The very thought makes me smile.

Evidence of a muddled thought process

You know you're not thinking clearly when your thought process goes something like this:

Damn, I'm cold. A bath would be good, a really hot bath. But I'm still supposed to write this evening. Good thing I have a laptop -- nice and portable. I'm sure I could rest it on my knees in the bath.

Even more proof: thinking, even momentarily, that this plan is brilliant.

The Wall

I am writing a book, yes? Stupid beloved stupid book. I am currently convinced of the following things:

- That this story is not going to pull together into a coherent ending. That, despite the fact that things have been connecting nicely, I’m going to drop one of the main threads and/or mess everything up, and end up with a conclusion that is in no way worth reading a whole book to reach.

- That there is not enough tension or conflict, and that my attempts to increase tension and conflict only manage to increase the silliness of the plot, and will likely ruin readers’ suspension of disbelief.

- That no one will want to read about these characters for so very many words.

- That the tone and narrative voice is intrusive and annoying. Alternately, that the prose is dull, and no amount of polishing will make it shine.

- That my economic magical system is fatally flawed and/or silly.

- That I am in the process of creating a trite, post-apocalyptic, novel-length version of Le Guin’s “The Ones Who Walk Away From Omelas,” merely leaving out the bit where people walk away (except readers, who shall abandon the book in disgusted droves).

In short, I have spent a month trying to deal with the fact that my book is terrible, horrible, no good and very bad, and that the more I write the more I mire myself in the stinking quagmire of suck. And then I remind myself that no, it is more likely that I have reached that wonderful middle of the book milestone where everything seems awful.

Yes, it’s the Wall. Stupid Wall. I kick it.

And what it means is that I’m now going to have to dig deep and rely on one of my strengths, a blessed family trait: blind, pig-headed stubbornness. Forget all that stuff about “permission to be bad,” etc; my perfectionist sub-conscious immediately rejects that as ridiculous bullshit, and the conscious brain nods sagely in approval. I’m going to be awesome if it’s the last thing I do, and if awesome is seventeen drafts and hundreds of thousands of words from here, then dammit, that’s where I’m going, one awful chapter at a time.

Time to put my head down, and trudge into the trenches with the muck and the suck and all those words waiting to be written. Time to get to work.


So I was walking to work on Saturday when I saw a group of people on the opposite side of the street from me, and in the crowd was a man that I recognized. I just didn't know who he was, or how I recognized him. (I'm one of those people who is absolutely dreadful at placing people when they're out of their normal context.) So I glanced over as I walked, while trying not to be a Creepy Staring Girl, when my brain finally offered up the man's identity.

"OMG!" I said, for I talk in acronyms. "That's Patrick Nielsen Hayden!"

Whereupon my brain quickly gave me the identities of two more individuals in the group: "And Teresa Nielsen Hayden! And John Scalzi!"

There were two other individuals with them who refused to turn in such a way that I could see their faces, but I decided that they too were likely SF/F personalities who are not usually in Toronto, and that the crowd as a whole was likely headed to the same destination as I. Thus, I booted it to the bookstore and made excited noises at cszego upon arriving.

"You'll never guess who is coming down the street towards the bookstore," said I.

"John Scalzi and Justine Larbalestier and Scott Westerfeld?" she replied, neatly identifying the two mystery people and ruining my surprise.

At which point we ran around like mad people to not only do all the usual things that one does to make a bookstore open to the public in the morning, but to grab all the books we could find by the noted personages headed our way that they could sign them. Our store soon overflowed with famous people, who signed books and bought books and chatted with Chris and were generally interesting.

Teresa and I talked a little about jewelry and beads, after she'd thought that the green and gold necklace I was wearing -- one that I just finished a few days ago and plan on selling -- was one of elisem's, which I took to be the awesome compliment that it is. She also told me of some places in New York where one can get amazing deals on beads, providing yet more motivation to return to NYC sometime.

I wanted to chat more, but instead got my butt up the ladder to shelve books to prepare the store for the Violette Malan signing in the afternoon. Still, with my hands full of books and a store full of authors, I could not help but think to myself, "This is the best job ever."

And it's true.

To the people of my beloved country

I have but one question for you all:


Oh, for the love of all that's good in this world, why?

You know, somehow saying, "At least it doesn't look like it'll be a Conservative majority," is not all that comforting at the moment.

Presented for your listening pleasure

Catching up:

"The Voices of the Snakes" is now up at PodCastle. (It was actually posted at Fantasy Magazine first about a week and a half ago, but I was sick and unavailable at the time, so hey, I'll just mention it now. Same story, different podcast!) This story originally appeared in issue #2 of Fantasy.

There's only one thing different about the audio version: it doesn't have its original last line. Intentionally, and by request. If, however, you're curious how it used to end, the full text is still available here. Funny thing is, the "original" version is actually one line shorter than the manuscript I sent to Sean Wallace back in the day. Each time the story gets printed, the ending gets trimmed a little more, much to my amusement.

I'm looking forward to seeing what people think.

In other news, I have page proofs for "Written in Smoke" for anthology Ages of Wonder sitting on my desk now, awaiting my attention. The anthology is now scheduled for publication in March, 2009 -- nearly two full years after I wrote and viciously edited it. Gotta love the publishing industry.


Happy Thanksgiving to my fellow Canadians!

There are more wonderful things in my life right now than I have space to list: an awesome book in progress, grant money, a part-time job that I love, amazing friends and family, a cat who likes to eat ginger cookies. Not to mention the best mattress ever created by any Serta factory in the world ever, sunshine, and knee-high brown boots.

And then there's the weather. I still cannot believe how lovely it was today. Look at this picture of me from a past Thanksgiving weekend: warm coat, fuzzy scarf, hands in my pockets to keep them from freezing off the end of my arms and falling in little frozen hand-lumps to the cold, cold ground. Today I wandered around with my parents and Gran wearing jeans and a tank top, and we had popsicles to help cool us down.

I took some pictures in my wandering, and hopefully some are worth keeping. There is at least one that I hoped, when taking it, would turn out in such a way that I can paint it. I have a poor little canvas that has been waiting in the corner for my attention for far, far too long.

No Longer Unemployed

Today was my first day of work at Bakka-Phoenix Books (bakkaphoenix), Toronto's science fiction and fantasy bookstore. As leahbobet has found herself an excellent full-time government day job (or, as we say, she has sold out to The Man), an additional someone was needed for part-time help at the store, and that additional someone is going to be me.

While one should never draw hard and fast conclusions from the first day at any job, my current inclination is simply to grin, with enthusiastic dancing to follow (once I'm over this cold).

Writing a book and selling books -- what else could I ask for? (Well, I could fall in a hole and find it's full of money, but other than that ...)

The Book Has Eaten My Brain

I said to msagara the other day that I didn't think that my book was going to be 90,000 words. That it was, in fact, likely to be much longer. She just laughed at me.

A few days later, I told the same thing to thesandtiger. She laughed much harder. She said that she'd known that I'd never write a short book; she just didn't want to mention it to avoid scaring me.

Sigh. Am I the only one who did not know I was going to be a particularly long-winded novelist?


Holy shit. The Toronto Arts Council approved my grant application!! An End to All Things: The Novel officially has funding. Even though it's a post-apocalyptic fantasy!

There were 278 grant applications, and I'm one of 28 grants approved at this level. Wow, this more than balances out the rejection letter I received today.

(Also: I have a list of the other recipients. If certain other applicants I know would go home and check their mail, it'd be greatly appreciated. Thank you, The Management.)

Sep. 17th, 2008

More Neverender tickets go on sale today. I still do not live in NYC, LA, Chicago, or London.

Wail, woe, crapdammit.

(Oh, my problems, they are ever so First World. Now I must wrestle with another such issue: what meal, from my full fridge, will be my lunch.)

Election Rambling

So, election time's coming up. No, Americans, I'm not talking to you.

Apparently Stephen Harper (a.k.a. the current Prime Minister, for those Americans of you who don't pay the slightest bit of attention to the massive country generally to your North) went and called an election while I was literally sleeping yesterday (what can I say, I keep an odd schedule), and all of a sudden we responsible Canadian folks have to get to the polls on October 14. Joy. Didn't we have a Federal election in early 2006? Why yes, yes we did.

What's good about this is that we don't have to endure months upon months of campaigning. Limit the pain, limit the damage. However, I can't help but feeling rushed, even though we all knew it was coming. I keep hearing a movie-style drill sergeant voice in my head: "Decide the fate of your country, you maggots! Now, now! Go-go-go!!"

And, yes, we know why he's calling this shotgun election. He's trying to get the election in now when there's still a chance of a strong Conservative vote, because come November Canada may be swept up in the wave of change that is -- sanity willing -- going to overtake the States. Lord knows I'd welcome some change on the Federal level here, too.

Yet polls show that Stephen Harper -- who, might I add, I find to be a total asshat, and with whom I appear to have a fundamental disagreement on pretty much everything -- is still leading. Please, for the love of all that is still good and right in this world, don't tell me that I’m facing even the possibility of a Conservative majority. Just ... don't.

So what do I know about the political Leaders? Um ... ah ... well ... about that ...Collapse )

Ira Glass on Storytelling

Carly sent me this video yesterday, in which Ira Glass talks about the gap between a creative person's taste and his/her ability -- that period when you know and understand exactly what excellence looks like in your field and just can't yet achieve anything of that standard.

Oh, how familiar. But made funny and entertaining!

This video is actually Part 3 of a four-part series, and I found all four worth watching. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4.)



I have achieved laptop! Many thanks to mattbin.

The new-to-me laptop is, as he warned me, not without its quirks, most notably the wrong kind of backlight for the screen. This means that the screen takes a little longer to warm up properly and that the edges are darker. Or, if you look at it in a different way, when I write it makes it seem like my words are surrounded by a halo of light. (However, the choir of angels singing as I type is, sadly, only in my head.)

Passing me by ...

So I've been making a driving CD for diatryma as per her blog request, trying to find songs that she might find interesting while also providing a survey of my musical taste, and attempting to end up with a CD that's actually listenable. It is, shall we say, a challenge, but a fun one.

Since Cassie and I listen to very few of the same things, the entire musical contents of my hard drive was fair game, and I ended up going to a few of my own driving favourites. (While somehow forgetting Jimmy Eat World's "Sweetness". Say what you will about Jimmy Eat World, that song is pure awesome for driving. ... If you are me, which I am.) One of the first that came to mind was Sam Roberts' "Brother Down" (a hit song here about six years ago).

The summer that this song first came out it was all over the local radio stations, and I was at that point working full-time at the Office of Student and Academic Services at Atkinson College at York University (which is both easy and fun to say). This meant I was driving every day from Bolton to North York (an hour's drive) in rush hour traffic, and invariably I'd find myself stopped at the horrible intersection of Highways 50 and 7, waiting forever to turn left, when this song would come on.

A key part of the chorus is the line, "I think my life is passing me by." And there in the car, breathing exhaust through the open window of my Tercel, I'd sing that line loudly, over and over as the indicator light ticked in time.

I have a couple of Sam Roberts' CDs now, and have played that song countless times. And somehow whenever "Brother Down" came on, that line was the one I could sing with such conviction. That was the line that resonated. I think my life is passing me by.

But making this CD, switching the order of songs around, listening for flow, I suddenly realized that while I still love singing along to this, Sam Roberts' first hit, that line no longer feels true. Unemployed and counting my pennies, spending my time wandering to the library and typing and playing with the cat, going on random trips, I finally feel like everything's going right.

Days are passing by, and I'm loving every one of them.

Well, damn.

Yesterday, my laptop self-destructed. Not entirely unexpected, though rather sudden. I'd just backed up the novel, so it only managed to take a few hundred words with it when it went. Still, I'm not pleased with this development, especially as I'm supposed to be writing. (This is Ruth's laptop, which she will need back shortly.)

So, locals: anyone know of a place to get a good, crazy-cheap laptop? Refurbished is fine. I just need a writing laptop, so as long as I can use it to type and occasionally check email, I'd be happy.

In the meantime: I will try writing this book by hand. It promises to be an adventure.

Olympic Thoughts

Here at the cottage, we have but two goals. Write stuff. Watch the Olympics.

This is our story.

Writing/Olympics Retreat: DAY TWOCollapse )

Writing/Olympics Retreat: DAY THREECollapse )

Continuing to not be home

wood_dragon and I have found a lovely coffee shop in Kincardine with free wireless. The only downside is that we won't be in Kincardine again until later this week. Ah, well. You'll miss me, I know.

In the meantime: there will be lots of writing (just as soon as I figure out the plot) and lots of Olympics. The French CBC station has been showing awesome things like Trampoline and Pursuit Cycling (and the latter I consider to be the summer version of Short Track Speedskating -- which is to say, the sport you never remember about but then can't stop watching the moment it comes on). If only the English station would follow suit, I'd have some idea what was going on. (Can't have everything.)

And now we have a brownie to eat, so I'll just be going.

Weekend, with concrete

Went to my parents’ place for the weekend. It was a normal sort of weekend at New House, which is to say that I spent time with my family, read and wrote a little, watched as others gardened, helped mix concrete, poured and formed the wet concrete into a support pad for the waterfall pump, went in the hot tub, and ate many things out on the deck in the sunshine. This is our version of normal, because my family's not content unless someone’s building, fixing, improving, digging, or tearing down something.

And really, what else would I do after painting my toenails gold but slop concrete over rebars with a shovel? Highly entertaining stuff, concrete, but it does dry out one’s hands.


Officially Almost Nearly

I am officially almost nearly back up to the word count I had before deleting that chapter and a half worth of stuff at Alpha. So close. We’ll see if I have a third writing session in me today; otherwise, the words will get written tomorrow.

The word count is still embarrassing, what with the deletion and the abandonment of writing through the end of Alpha, Confluence, and the con crud, but at least the word count is once again increasing.

I am also officially almost nearly not sick. Today’s the first day I’m not moping about on cold medication, and thank goodness for that; I rather enjoy being on the mend, and all.

Though I did leave the apartment yesterday (on cold meds) for important things like food and to go see the Batman movie with leahbobet and thesandtiger. (Priorities.) And yes, it was awesome, for all those reasons everyone else has already said -- but really, it was the structure of the thing that blew me away. I sat there in that cold, dark theatre, my story brain cranked up to high, just watching the pieces fit together.

The first coherent thing I said after the movie was that I respected it, because it worked. The whole thing. The plot and the characters and the rising tension and the setting -- everything fitting together perfectly, one piece after another. Click, click, click.

(Actually, the first thing I said was in reply to Leah’s comment, “Only the awesome people stay until the end of the credits.” I looked around when the lights went up, and discovered that we three were the only ones still in the theatre. “Yep,” I said. “That sounds about right.”)

I wasn’t able to say much coherent about it after that, though, because my brain did not want to get out of the shape of the movie that it had constructed. Actually, my story brain is still quite happy to stay in that place, and since this isn’t an Alpha story that I have to critique coherently, I will just say: go see this movie. It’s built out of dark metal girders welded together at interesting angles.


Karina Sumner-Smith

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