Nov 30 2013

Undisclosed loca — no, wait, I’m actually at home.


As has become my personal Thanksgiving tradition, I’ve added some vacation days to the regular holiday days off from the DayJob, resulting in 10 whole days off. And as has also become my tradition I eschew all Thanksgiving celebration, in favor of using the time to hide away from the world and write.

I couldn’t afford to actually go anywhere (downside of a 32-hour workweek), but since my sister took off for New Hampshire to eat turkey with friends and generally socialize, I have the house to myself for five of those days, which is almost as good as going away!

I’ve been hunkered down, pounding away. tearing my hair out, and pacing.

I also had intended to do some lovely hikes, and visit the gym, and then — dammit! I did this thing to my knee that happens every now and again at inexplicable intervals.

The first time it happened, I waited a couple of weeks, hoping it would go away. Finally broke down and saw an Orthopedist, who prodded me and declared it was absolutely a torn cartilage, and spoke to me seriously about surgery. It feels like a torn cartilage, it acts like a torn cartilage, hurts like all kinds of crazy. Then we took an MRI: no discernible injury whatsoever. Nada.

So: physical therapy, bunch of ibuprofen, and I was fine. Next time it happened, I knew what to do, and it was gone in a couple of days.

So, alas, happened again this week, and I was not able to head out to the nearby park to hike in the woods, as I wanted. Nor visit the gym.

Nor drive down to Fairfield to visit some friends for a post- T-day noshfest.

And these were people I really wanted to see! Including two who are home from college, and I don’t get to see enough! Plus: world’s cuddliest cat — and I am suffering from serious lack of cat-cuddles.

Well. I did get lots of writing done. Of course, much editing and rewriting will follow. I don’t know about you, but when I declare that I’m going to write no matter what, the result will always include a certain percentage of, shall we say, dispensable prose. Still, happily, I wrote lots of words!

And so did Sabine! And so did Ann! They both completed their NaNoWriMo goals, hooray!

I’m thrilled to bits for both of them — but especially for Sabine, for whom this is the first book-length work completed.

Of course, you knew she was already a published writer, right?

So, I’m emerging today to do some writing-associated but non-writing tasks. Such as, say, blogging. Hi, there!

And other biz-type things that I really must see to.

Which I must now get back to.

Hope your days of celebration were as enjoyable as mine!

My temporary office in the kitchen.   With view of happy birds, and bonus sunshine.

The workbook to my left is FORGOTTEN ALGEBRA, a Self-Teaching Refresher Course,   by Barbara Lee Bleau, PH.D.   If you are currently in school, and have asked your teacher why you have to study all that algebra crap, since you’re obviously never going to need it — NEWS FLASH! You will need it.


Nov 21 2013

Because linguistics!

Rosemary pointed me to this.

Which then led me to this.

By the time I found this … I was pretty well hooked.

My official new fave blog: All Things Linguistic!

Nov 19 2013



Yep, still here, and still cracking down on the writing, so blogs remain a bit sparse on the ground lately.

It’s been about four months now that I’ve been pushing especially hard, and it’s quite a tug-of-war with the DayJob. I’ve been slipping in to work a bit late most days, but so far either they don’t mind, don’t care, or don’t notice. Or possibly they do notice, but also notice that I always stay a proportionate amount of time late to make up for it.

I’m actually there now, putting in some extra time to pre-catch up for the Thanksgiving holiday, when I have THE ENTIRE WEEK OFF, HOORAY!

I’m doing my usual thing of skipping all the trad celebrations and just living as a writer for the whole time. I can’t afford to get away to any undisclosed locations this time around, but my sister is kindly vacating for part of the week, which means that I can be as absorbed, abstracted and antisocial as I need to be! This, by me, is fun.

It’s been getting colder — so alas, my woody nook won’t be usable for much longer. I try to get outside whenever I can, but mostly it’s been cave-bear mode, since there’s no longer any sunlight when I get home.

Just before the last leaves fell, some of which, oddly, were pink.

Just before the last leaves fell, some of which, oddly, were pink.


Meanwhile, Sabine and Ann are still NaNoWriMo-ing.   Lots of writing going on around our house — and the library, and Starbucks, and at lunch on the DayJob, and all that.   We are dedicated!


Here’s something I found on the ground by my cement bench (as seen above) the other day:


Persistence.  It's what's for dinner.

Assiduous critters abound.


This nut is empty. There is exactly one hole in the nut, and you’re looking at it.

Yeah. You don’t need me to spell it out, do you?

More later…

Nov 9 2013

For the NaNoWriMers trying to reach their daily word-count


Hey, if Matsuoka Shuzo believes in you, why argue?

Nov 7 2013

The thrill of — wait for it — persistence


Just reminding folks that cracking down extra-hard on my writing last month meant fewer blog posts. A simple equation, apparently. Can’t fight math.

Oh, and look! I’ll be doing it again this month! Well.

Seriously. Just gotta.

I’ll still check in at least once a week or so, while I’m in the trenches. If I Twittered, I’d tweet, but although I do have a Twitter account, I just can’t get into it… possibly because the device by which I would tweet is not a phone and only works when I’m in range of an open WiFi network.. It’s the casualness and ease of Twitter that makes it so attractive, and so powerful. Take away those two things, and it’s just another chore!

I have actual writing to do, thanks. So, not likely to tweet.

Meanwhile: Hey, my sister signed up for NaNoWriMo!

What, do you not know that that is? That month-long marathon, in which people of all walks of life, professional, amateur and experimenter, sign up to write an entire 50,000-word novel in exactly one month? Never heard of it? It’s been around for years now, and it’s grown into quite the event. November IS National Novel Writing Month!

Really, go check out the scoop on their website. I’ll wait here.

Back now? Good. Isn’t it a lovely concept?

They have pep talks, too.

And you can always get the book No Plot? No Problem!  by Chris Baty, the founder of NaNoWriMo.  It’s 1.99 for the Kindle version.  Which means you probably already spent more money than that just by turning on your computer, navigating to the Amazon website, and clicking on “Look Inside.”

So, Sabine’s attacking her word-count like a proper pro. She is currently between day-jobs, and I’m TOTALLY JEALOUS BECAUSE SHE CAN WRITE ANYTIME SHE FEELS LIKE IT ALL DAY but enough about me.   I’m her cheering section this month, and I have no doubts that she will hit the NaNoWriMo mark of 50k words with flair to spare!

My pal, author Ann Tonsor Zeddies has also signed up.

Why didn’t I sign up, you ask? Because the proper NaNoWriMo deal is to write a 50K-word novel, beginning to end, in one month. If you’ve just started something, you can generally slip in with it. But the thing I’ve been working on currently is nowhere near its beginning, and it would just be plain cheating to sign on at this stage.

Of course, I could have taken a month out of my life and started some other work, beginning to end. It’s not like I have a shortage of ideas waiting for my attention. And now I’m kinda wishing i’d done that.

But I’m going to stick with my current plan. Of course, there’s nothing to say you couldn’t sign up.

There are many wonderful benefits of going through the NaNoWriMo experience, chief among which are: writing a novel.

Seriously — that’s enough. Regardless of whether or not the completed novel you end up with is good enough to be published, it’s worth doing.

The experience of writing a novel’s worth of words is, in and of itself, a worthwhile activity

I could point to all sorts of useful results : the sense of accomplishment, the exercise of one’s creativity, the training in daily application, the testing of one’s limits, learning about yourself, yadda yadda.

The hell with all that. That’s like saying that eating a steak is good because it has protein and iron and it’s good for you, and that’s why you should eat a steak instead of candy.

No, no — you eat the steak because it is delicious! (Vegetarians, substitute vegetable of your choice.) Really, it’s good! Never had one? You’re in for a treat. This is why we want a steak. It’s one of the wonderful things about existence.

With NaNoWriMo, you get to find out why writers write: not just to “have written”, but to write. For the doing of it, the doing of something remarkable.

Throw yourself into the story! Take chances, be bold, be crazy –or dare to be deep, dare to speak truth, dare to reach for beauty.

Do you understand that even if everything comes out as crap, it’s still worth doing?

Here’s another metaphor: Do you ski? When you ski, do you ski to win the race? Do you ski to look cute in your snow-bunny suit?

Or do you ski to ski? Chances are you ski because it’s an amazing experience. And you get to do it over and over, as many times as you want, and if you fall face-first in the snow you laugh like a loon, clamber to your feet, find your runaway skis, strap ’em back on, and do it again.

At the end of NaNoWriMo, you have something. It might be something already in its final, perfect form; or that can be improved, made into a work of literature you can share with others and maybe even sell — or it might just be a bunch of great photos of you zooming down the mountain, that you can keep and cherish forever.

NaNoWriMo is only a month long. That’s short enough to not be scary, but long enough to have the real experience of writing a novel.

That’s the point, folks. The doing of the thing.

By the way, everything is really about the doing of the thing. Or haven’t you noticed?

And now, courtesy of those wacky Russians, your Daily Affirmation: