Working Wednesday, January 30, 2019

As we turn the corner into February, Lee is back with her project-a-day post on her blog, and I for one intend to embrace it this year. I haven’t drawn in years, and yet I now feel the urge to do so, in part because I’m looking at You Again which now seems to be an Edward Gorey story. Big Gorey fan here. Doing Gorey-inspired drawings of the You Again characters seems like a good way to brainstorm the book, even though mine will be awful, at least in the beginning. I also want to look into doing the cartoons for the character section of Writing/Romance. So one a day? Yes, please. Must go find my sketchbook this afternoon and pencils and my Mars Staedler eraser without which I cannot work. Very excited, so thank you, Lee!

Are any of you going to play along?

Oh, and what did you make this week?

Rebooting a Novella

We’ve got miserable weather coming in (although not as bad as the midwest, sorry about that, Midwest) so I am counting my blessings. The big one is that Milton is just old, not dying, and his arthritis is giving him hell, so new meds and a snooze on the electric blanket are fixing him right up. With that worry off my mind, it’s time to get back to work. I’m rebooting a novella I began a couple of years ago that has Alice at fourteen and Southie meeting Alice’s art teacher. I only have the first five scenes, and I’m not feeling the heroine, and there are some major plot holes already, but that’s par for my course. My beginnings are always 747s on icy runways: I know exactly where I want to go, I pick up speed, and then I slide sideways into where I’m going to end up. Exciting.

So here’s the beginning of the rebooting process.

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The Myths of Happiness

Last May, Psychology Today published an essay by Susanna Newsonen discussing why chasing happiness was a bad idea. Newsonen describes herself as a Happyologist, aka a happiness coach, which would send me running in the opposite direction except that she went on to talk about the three myths of happiness. They are:

  1. Happiness is the absence of negative emotions.
  2. Success fuels happiness.
  3. Happiness fuels success.

Okay, two and three are obvious non-starters, but I found the first one interesting because it seems to just make sense. Negative emotions make us unhappy, therefore getting rid of negative emotions would lead to . . .

Oh, wait

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Cherry Saturday, January 26, 2019

Today is Australia Day.

Australia is so much more than a country where nature can kill you, it’s also full of the most amazingly nice people I’ve ever met. When Krissie and I were there, we seriously considered emigrating except (a) our families would object and (b) Australia probably wouldn’t have us. It’s gorgeous country and gorgeous architecture and even its money is gorgeous. Also, they have sane gun laws so even if the wildlife is out to get you, the Australians aren’t.

Even so, if it weren’t for the Drop Bears, Krissie and I would probably still be there. Happy Australia Day, Aussie Argh People, and many more!

This is a Good Book Thursday, January 24, 2019

This week I read a lot of old drafts. Why I have forty-six version of the first two scenes of You Again, I have no idea, but I’m skimming through all of them trying to figure out what I was thinking. Mostly, I’m thinking I wasn’t thinking. I may need to step away from the drafts and read a good book.

Any recommendations?

(I know that image isn’t technically about reading, but it sums up my current state pretty well.)

Working Wednesday, January 23, 2019

It’s almost February. On the one hand, my how time flies. On the other hand, February is the most miserable month of the year, so time, keep on flying. I’m still searching old hard drives, looking for my missing files, and also trying to get the ice off my car (it’s melting fast, ice does that when it’s forty outside), explaining to the dogs that we can’t go see Jackson and his person today because they’re getting new countertops, and planning on hitting the diner for chicken and mashed potatoes with extra marsala gravy. BIG plans.

So what have you been working on?

So I’m Losing My Mind . . .

For some reason, the Girls in the Basement have decided that You Again is where we’re going next. I do understand the draw: I have a plot, it’s full of whack-job characters that will be fun to write, and there’s a lot of food in it. My kind of book. However, I’m missing a lot of it, which makes no sense because I have hundreds–no exaggeration–of files on this sucker. I just don’t have the ones from 2014. I do have notes and jpgs for characters for 2014, and Alice and Isolde are in all of those, but I do not seem to have drafts beyond the first two scenes, which they are not in. And I had a lot of stuff in there about them. I just can’t figure out where it got to. If I had lost everything from 2014, that would be understandable, but how can I have all of these notes and no drafts?

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Stop Harassing Happiness

So studies have shown (don’t you just love that phrase? what studies? who did they study? how did they study? why did they study? did they take study breaks? were there study dates? never mind) that pursuing happiness makes people unhappy. This makes sense to me; if you’re chasing something, it’s because you don’t have it. But the study’s point was that people who were pursuing happiness felt there wasn’t enough time in their lives. The contrast was with people who already felt happy; they felt they had plenty of time. Well, of course they had plenty of time, they’d already caught happiness so they weren’t on the clock anymore, they could just wallow in it. Meanwhile all those people with happiness nets searching fruitlessly knew that even if they captured happiness, they probably wouldn’t have any time left to enjoy it.

Moral of the study: Wallow in the happiness you’ve got and stop chasing other happiness. Maybe it’s just not that into you.

So what did you wallow in this week?