Of Birthdays, Books, And Fun

After a few weekends in a row of scheduled things, these last two days have been fantastic. Maybe I’m bragging, but I want to share this, anyway. You don’t have to read it. Feel free to walk away. Close the tab.

No? Still here? Then no bitching allowed.

Saturday was unexpectedly beautiful. Weather-wise and otherwise. Got together with one of my best friends, and we had a million things to talk about. She is also an amazing photographer and gave me an excuse to dress up and jump around in a corset. Good times.

Saturday also became the third non-writing day this year. And I am quite okay with that fact. (I feel like I have to announce those — to keep myself honest, but also because I’m so damn proud of them. I don’t get it, either.)

I had the chance to re-read Tamora Pierce’s Immortals quartet, as I’ve wanted to do for over a year, because I finally found my copy in the boxes of crap I’ve had stored in my grandmother’s basement who-knows-how long. It’s strange for me to realize all the time I don’t have for reading any more. After this weekend, I’m averaging four books a month; I used to more than double that number without really trying.

I also used to work in a bookstore. Part-time. That helped.

And my sister turned 30 today. I called her and told her she was old. Not to worry: she’ll remind me of this next year, when my turn comes along. And if our older sisters ever find out, they will exact their own revenge.

(Note: In case it isn’t glaringly obvious, 30 is not actually ‘old’ unless you’re a kid, in high school or younger.)

I still have a couple more hours left to my weekend, and those I will spend writing. There’s a new notebook to break in, after all.

Tell me something good about your weekend!

Not All Here

It’s official: when I am going on a project, social/communication capacity is the first to go. There’s only so much I can do at once, and writing takes an amazing amount of processing power.

My phone calls are shorter, fewer, and farther between. Facebook and Twitter posts become fewer and even more sporadic. Emails are shorter, when I get around to them at all. And this blog just keeps gasping along.

In case you couldn’t tell, burnout hasn’t been much of an issue. I had a few days’ lull, rough drafted a short story, then turned around and started the re-write. Less than a week and I’m already three chapters in. If this pace keeps up, I won’t have any problem making my self-imposed deadline.

Life isn’t that nice, so I’ll take what I can get whenever I get it.

So if I’m slow to respond or seem distracted, now you know why. If I seem extra flighty and erratic — well, you know that, too. I’d apologize, but you know I wouldn’t mean it.

Happy Rejection!

There is something amazing about a rejection letter that accuses a story of being both well-written and an enjoyable read.

Rejections are great. Really! For me. At this point and time in my writing career.

This is in large part due to the fact that I can count the number of rejection letters on one hand. With fingers left over. The problem is that I don’t often get around to submitting stories. I’ll procrastinate, or the story won’t be ready, or any number of other reasons and excuses — sadly, most of them are legitimate.

But this time, the story was ready. It just wasn’t as strong as some of the other submissions, and there were very few slots to fill. The editor didn’t have to say anything, beyond the fact that she chose not to buy it. That she did is amazing.

Any rejection letter is still proof that I sent something out, that I’m moving forward and actually accomplishing things.

Speaking of which, you’ll have to excuse me; I have a novel to re-write.

Hello, Burnout

As I said over on Facebook a couple hours ago, “creative things” apparently means cooking today. Spice pancakes for breakfast, raisin cinnamon bread currently filling the house with yummy smells, and hummus made from scratch just waiting for the garlic naan to finish rising.

I think the three or so hours I spent doing taxes was enough left-brain activity that the right-brain is now lashing out.

Now if only it would apply that to the stories I need to give feedback on, or the novel and short story I need to write that have something like deadlines.

I don’t have time for burnout.

It doesn’t feel like I’ve had a proper weekend. Granted, two-day weekends never feel like that. (How did I ever manage school?) But Saturday had the extra special benefit of being Town Meeting. Hooray, small-town life.

Of course, Town Meeting has the dual relation to both personal and work life, considering I now work for the town in which I live. It was educational, for sure, and I’m glad I went, but it didn’t feel like I had much real choice in the matter. Add to that the fact that anything that takes me away from writing makes me extra grumpy, and I’m a bit growly about the whole thing. Which is funny, because I didn’t expect to be getting any writing done, anyway.

Not even a fully week has passed since I finished two major projects. I knew burnout was coming — it’s here — but for once I have the next projects lined up, with deadlines of their own. Thanks to burnout, I’m having a hard enough time getting words on the page. Getting between me and what writing I do manage? That’s just asking me to bite your head off.

Don’t Put Away Childish Things

I’m freaking out. Just a little.

See, last night, I submitted a short story. You know, right after I finished that damned novel draft.

That was exciting.

I haven’t been posting because I’ve been rushing like mad to get those done. That, and the drama festival. The kids were fantastic, the shows were generally amazing, and research-wise the whole trip was pure gold. Even if cultural appropriation ran rampant at times and made me question the direction of our future.

But that’s a rant for another day, and just a few moments out of an otherwise great weekend.

Making myself sit down to write this post has been hard. I’d like to blame it on burnout, but that’s a rocky road to travel so early in the post-project haze and runs the risk of being little more than an excuse to stare blankly.

Today ended up being a partial snow day, during which I have accomplished absolutely nothing. Here’s hoping that’s out of my system, and I can actually get things done tomorrow!

Phoenix Burning

It’s been a while, but R. B. Wood has a new episode of the Word Count Podcast up, and it just so happens to have a story of mine.

Apologies in advance. I was sick when I recorded it, so my voice may not sound quite right.

I’ve missed writing different things. Drafting a novel is a consuming process that makes it easy to forget what it feels like to work on different projects.

And writing for podcast is a bit different. I don’t have to be as precise with the language, or worry that sarcasm won’t translate. It’s freeing that way. When I write for this podcast, I try to write what feels natural for me to say. It’s the actor in me.

Anyway, the point of all this is that you should go listen to the episode. My story starts around 6:30.


Still Pretending (To Be An Adult)

There is so much I want to be when I grow up. Carmen SanDiego has led the race for a while. At this point, I only need the hat, trench coat, and Interpol file.

Not so far from 30, I still feel like I’m playacting at being an adult, and even that is only when we have guests. Then, I’ll cook, and clean the house, and put away my piles of junk that I otherwise rarely touch, and stock real food, as opposed to lazy food.

But I’ve signed up to twist my brain. There’s a trip approaching. With a group of high schoolers. My husband has to go because of work. I volunteered to go for more selfish reasons (and I can almost guarantee it’s not what you’re thinking).

I’m going because I love this theater department. I adore the staff and love what it gives the kids. As a recovering thespian, it’s an awesome thing for kids to get involved with. I’m going because I had to work the weekend of state competition last year and wished I could have gone. And, yes, I’m also going because my husband will be there and I don’t want to spend those days home alone.

But he’ll be working, and because this is a school trip, I’ll actually be rooming with another volunteer instead of him.

And my probably roommate? A high school friend. We roomed together on theater trips back then, too.

See my dilemma? A total nostalgia trip while chaperoning a group of teens. This will be a serious test of my pretensions to adulthood.

But my other major reason for going is research. You see, there’s this story idea . . .

As I said, my reasons are purely selfish. I just can’t tell if I gain or lose Adult Points on that one.