Working Wednesday, September 25, 2018

I’ve been cooking all week which has the added benefit of giving me excellent things to eat.  Also, Max and Button’s subplot.  Also, the great Whiteboard Dilemma, which is still mostly in my head.   And I’ve started about four different crochet projects and frogged them all.  In other words, my work is ephemeral and ongoing.

What did you do this week?

Keys vs. Pens

I write on a computer.  I love writing on a computer.  There is no doubt in my mind that if computers hadn’t been invented, I would never have written a book.  (I wrote my first master’s thesis on a typewriter.  That was enough long -form-with-witeout typing.)  Sometimes I have to diagram to see relationships, overlapping plots, anything that’s not linear and for that I have a mapping program (Curio, highly recommended).  My relationship with my laptop is intense and ongoing.

Until I get to the two-thirds (roughly) point in the novel.  Then I lust for colored pens.

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The Art of Pacing

I’ve always been a bug about pacing in fiction, not always mastering it but definitely obsessing about it.  I have no idea why I never applied that to my life.  I’ve always gone full tilt at what I wanted, swinging between exhaustion and hypomania, probably because of the hypomania, and then in June my heart said, “Fuck you and this madness” and tried to quit on me.  Now I go full tilt at something for about ten minutes and then my body says, “We’re done here,” and I sit down.  The weird thing is, I like it.  

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Comparative Happiness

Studies have shown (some study somewhere always shows something) that happiness is relative, by which I do not mean your relatives make you happy. I mean that your happiness with an experience depends on what you’re comparing it to.   Is right now not as good as the best time in your life or is it much better than the worst time in your life?  There’s your relative scale for happiness.  I’m wondering if that’s why older people are so often reported to be more content.  We’ve lived through such hell that a stretch of relative calm and well-being seems like nirvana.  My personal approach is to look at anything that’s making me unhappy and think (1) Can I fix/solve/stop this? and (2) If I can’t, is this worse than the worst time in my life?  It’s never worse than the worse time in my life, so happiness returns.  

How did you find comparative happiness this week?

Cherry Saturday, September 22, 2018

Today is Dear Diary Day.  

Diaries are very important if only for entertainment; as Gwendolen says in The Importance of Being Earnest, “I never travel without my diary.  One should always have something sensational to read in the train.” And that’s before you get to the sense of nostaligic shame that sweeps over you when you realize how completely lame you were back then (“back then” being twenty years or twenty minutes).  But the most important thing about keeping a journal is that it actually is good for you.  The study I cited when I taught was done on college students; not only did their stress levels decline when they journaled for a month, months after they stopped their levels remained lower.  That’s good stuff.   I buy journals because they’re pretty and never use them because I blog, which is not the same thing because I can’t put my deepest thoughts and fears here.

Although now that I come to think of it . . .

Do as I say, not as I do: Keep a journal.

This is a Good Book Thursday, September 20, 2018

I’ve been reading Pratchett’s Watch series which has been interesting because although I’ve read the first three–Guards! Guards!, Men at Arms, and Feet of Clay–a dozen times and loved them all, I barely remember the last four.  I remember Night Watch being exceptional, but I can’t remember details, and the others I only have vague recollections of which means it’s like reading new books.  Oh, and I’ve been reading my own book-in-progress and it’s fun, too (yes, I got rid of the godawful sex scene).  So I’ve been having a lovely time.  

What have you been reading?

Sunshine and Reputation

I have been thinking about reputation, both in real life and in fiction.  I’ve always thought I’ve gone through life angry and defiant about reputation, my basic approach was “If you don’t like me, then the hell with you,” except when I look back, it wasn’t anything of the kind.  I worked really hard to build a reputation as a good teacher and then as a smart, original writer.  I didn’t care about the superficial stuff, people telling me I was no lady (really?  when did you notice?) or sneering at what I wore (except for the shoes, I had a shoe thing), or laughing because I wrote romance (most popular genre in publishing, laugh all you want, Monkey People), but I cared a lot about my professional reputation as a teacher and a writer. I think that’s where Nita’s coming from, too.  She can handle being Odd Dodd; she can’t handle being thought of as a crazy, lousy cop.  

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