Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Fine LInes

Went to the gym Monday.  210 cal and 20 minutes on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(30+30+40)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  14x(50+60+70)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curls on the Roman Chair.  3x13x35lbs barbell curls.  13x3x30lbs on the triceps pulldown.  3x10X5lbs lbs on a lat extension and forward lat extensions.

Writing -- Scrivener is giving me a low word count for Monday, probably because I was editing and took words out (or moved swathes of text to "research" (i.e. it's back story, or it's notes I wrote to myself.   Tuesday worked out so that I had a bunch of time to write (thanks Mark!) so I got about 2000 words (I think).  

Not that I want the entire novel to be filled with sex scenes, but I let myself work on what will probably be two intimate scenes (maybe two and a half, if you count the dialog).  On one hand, I don't want to write a rutting scene; but on the other hand, characters are sexual beings.  I want the language to be lyrical, but at the same time I'm pretty sure most lyrical-sex-people are lyrical before or after sex because it's hard during.  Anyway, it's a fine line between earthy and explicitly crude; between lyrical and euphemistic; and between satisfying the animal and the sublime. 

I'm reading Paladin of Souls, which I'm liking the language in.  The author is sparse with her setting description, which is a lesson I could learn from.  

Monday, March 19, 2018

Catch-up Post

Went to the gym Thursday:

250 cal on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(30+30+40)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  14x(50+60+70)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curls on the Roman Chair.  3x13x30lbs barbell curls.  13x3x30lbs on the triceps pulldown.  3x10X5lbs lbs on a lat extension and forward lat extensions.

Friday was a low day.  And I was agitated.  I'm going to blame the new moon.  Instead of writing I wiggled curved lines into Celtic Knots.

Went to the gym Saturday morning:

305 cal on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(30+30+40)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  14x(50+60+70)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curls on the Roman Chair.  3x13x30lbs barbell curls.  13x3x30lbs on the triceps pulldown.  3x10X5lbs lbs on a lat extension and forward lat extensions.

Saturday my Corvallis family visited our house.  Mark made some "Irish Stew" for Saint Patrick's Day.  My folks brought a tasty fruit salad and my sister's family brought yummy brownies.  We had a nice afternoon socializing... and Smokey even climbed up into the fort to sit with my niece.

Sunday The Child and I went to UUCE to shop for churches.  UUCE is probably to progressive and non-denominational for The Child, but I enjoyed the service and it was wonderful to re-connect with some friends I don't otherwise see. 

I got in 1000 words on the novel.  Not the highest quality, but that's what editing is for.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Hildigard Migraine

Last night (Monday) I was working on the novel (breaking up large texts into scenes and moving them around in Scrivener) and was going to move on to new writing when I noticed a bright spot in my vision.  Yep, it was the begining of an aura that presages a migrane. I was hoping it would go away, but  then I noticed there was also a blind spot when I looked down at the H-key on my keyboard.  Luckily,  I didn't have much pain or discomfort;  but it made it hard to see.

At first, there was a whirlpool of blue sparks and a kind of fog in the right side of my vision.  It seemed to be mostly in my right eye.  A little later on, the sparks united into a jagged line that started about 11 o'clock in my right eye (and possibly just a little in my left eye), arced in a saw-toothed lightning bolt around the clock, and ended at 7 o'clock.  A one point there seemed to be a little red flame at the 7 o'clock terminus of the wiggling lightning bolt.  Lightning bolts are new:  I usually get bands of flashing sparks.  I would have channeled my inner Hildegard Vonbingen, but I really couldn't read and I wondered if maybe the computer screen might be making the auras worse.   I imagine my Hildegard verses would go like this:

(Cue New Age handbells, synthesizer chords, and a world beat)
Sing praise to the Sky FatherWhose breast is like roiling storm clouds.Whose heart beats like thunder.Whose love is like lightning.Tempestuous One! Rain your blessing love upon us!

(Oh, wait!  KWAX's Tuesday morning show is playing a violin piece (with horn flourishes) that this fits into!)

Luckily, from first spark to last blurry lightning bolt only lasted about a half-hour (thanks ibuprophen?).  I'm thinking that the last migrane was triggered by a storm coming in, and last night a storm blew in.  

Tuesday I was a little off; I didn't exactly have a headache, and I think I'm going to call it a "not-headache."  Or maybe an "Oh my brain."   Caffeine seemed to help.    At least three social media friends contacted me and told me to make sure the previous evening's fireworks show wasn't a detatched retina -- so I made an appointment with an eye doctor.

I took a little disco nap, and then went off to write.  I started out with a Vance travelling upriver in a punt with Jerick and realized -- because this is a "meet the family" prelude -- that Jerick's sister Jynene would be with them after I'd written about three-fourths of the disjointed scenes comprising their trip.   I managed about 1800 words.

On the technical end, the upcoming new moon on St. Patrick's day makrs the half-way point of thisprocject, and I'm still only about 25000 words into a Very Rough Draft.... I'm hoping to get back on track writing wise the week before Easter, when I'll have the house to myself (and the cats)

Monday, March 12, 2018

Monday Gym Report

Went to the gym Monday.  305 cal on the Nordic Eliptical.  13x(30+30+40)lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  14x(50+60+70)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curls on the Roman Chair.  3x13x30lbs barbell curls.  13x3x30lbs on the triceps pulldown.  3x10X5lbs lbs on a lat extension and forward lat extensions.

I'm trying to decide what I'm doing differently, because lately it seems like the progress I was making on my abdominals has stopped.  I'm not sure if I've been eating too many carbs (Mark would say I'm not eating enough fruits and vegetables), or if I need to start up (again) a planking routine, or if my body has decided that I'm too old for abs.

Slipping Knots

This hasn't been a good time to be a writer in the Pacific Northwest.  I went to Dianna Rodger's memorial gathering, and there I learned that Kate Wilhelm had died (apparently in her home with family).  I didn't know Kate very well.  For about two years I was in a monthly writers' workshop she held at her house.  She was always very gracious and kind and I always appreciated the rigour of her critiques.   

Another writer, Mary Rosenblum, died in a plane crash over the weekend.  Mary was a Reedie (from "Old Reed").  I'd only met her once when she led a Clarion weekend writers' workshop, and I wish I had known her better.   

I feel like I'm in an unravelling tapestry, the remaining threads fading.  

I feel like I got very little writing done over the weekend.  According to Scrivener, I wrote 635 words Friday, 916 words Saturday, and 121 words Sunday.  Sunday, I also drew up a very bad map of the capital city of Lampton, which is a major setting for the novel -- which I'm going to have to re-do because there's not enough cliffs, and the river (and therefore the dockyards) doesn't make any sense.  

No gym visitations... although I did try out some playground equipment when the Family went for a walk.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Progress and Setbacks

Went to the gym Monday.  300 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  3x13x30lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(50+60+70)lbs on the lat pulldown.  3x13 Roman Chair curl-ups.  3x13x35lbs barbell curls.  3x13x30lbs (I think) tricepcs curls (I was talking with a friend I bumped into and sort of lost count).

Tuesday night was a writing night:  I managed about 1800 words across about three scenes.  I want to say that I did just under 1500 words Monday... but I'll have to look.  I've been doing a lot from my iPad, but the Mac version of Scrivener is the one that does all the statistics -- I'll have to see how the stats are compiled after I sync the versions.

Tuesday was a rough day.  I learned my writer friend, Dianna Rodgers, died of complications with her lungs early Tuesday morning (she was in line to get a lung transplant in Seattle over the next few months).   She had just turned 60.

 I met Dianna at Wordos; she managed to stay out of the rounds of Writers Playing Badly, and at times I would talk with her about those rounds because of her background as a social worker.  Dianna had a great writers' hand-out on critical thinking errors your characters can make (like dodging responsibility by blaming the victim), which she had gleaned from her work in the social justice system.  

She was the first person to make The Child cry:  she had graciously offered Damon Kaswel and me a ride the to Eugene Airport to go to Writers of the Future, but all The Child knew was that I had hopped into Dianna's van and driven away.  

When I got home from work Tuesday, it took Mark pointing it out, but the city had cut down a huge Sitka spruce on the corner of the block.  It was about six stories high, and the crows and jays and squirells loved it.  I can't believe how much it dominated the corner, and now the neighborhood looks much more like a 1960's project than it did Monday.   We're waiting for ugly four-plex with horible renters to be thrown up in the next four months.   Luckily, for us, the corner lot has two houses and an alley between our lot; but still.  

I went out and there wasn't even a stump; someone had placed cut daffodils and a wreath of the tree's broken boughs on the place where the roots once were.

Went to the gym Wednesday.  300 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  3x13x30lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(50+60+70)lbs on the lat pulldown.  3x13 Roman Chair curl-ups.  3x13x35lbs barbell curls.  3x13x30lbs triceps curls. 3x8x5lbs side-and-front free-weight flex thingies that I can't remember the name of.

Looking at writing statistics, according to Scrivener, I wrote 12,800 words in February and 3000 total for March.  There are a couple of negative word count days, and I'm assuming that is when I edited things.   The total word count for my Very Rough Draft is 21,500.  Oh dear. . . .  This isn't the best news, because I should be at 45,000 words in a week if I want to be at 90,000 by May 1.

Sunday, March 04, 2018

Fantasy Time, Working Out, and Migraines

Wednesday night I sat down with the fantasy world's ephemeris and made a four-month calendar, marking down when the icy-white moon, Lustis, and the glowing ember moon, Hestus, were new and full, and when they switched places in their co-orbital dance in the sky.  I'd gathered from the numbers that Hestus, which is smaller and has the largest difference between its faster, inner orbit and its slower, outer one was moving much more quickly in the lower orbit--but seeing that its fast month is twice as fast as its slow month on a calendar is much more clear in a visual calendrical form than a table of moons' angles.

Went to the gym Thursday evening:  300? cal on the Nordic Eliptical.  3x13x30lbs deltiod fly.  13x(30+40+50) on the pec fly.  13x(50+60+70)lbs+5x80lbs on the lat pull-down.   3x13 curls on the Roman Chair.  3x12x30lbs barbell curls.  3x13x30 tricept pull-downs.  

Thursday night was a bust as far as writing went; I did some very minor edits and organization in Scrivener.  I forced myself up at 5:20 Friday morning to write some words... and continued with the very minor edits.  The session turned into research of the history of iron and steel, mostly because I wanted to know the relative hardness of various metals.  

At one point I was writing about a warning charm Vance the Sorcerer would wear, and saw in an earlier draft that he was wearing a ring--which was changed into a large iron ring on a necklace... but I'd left the necklace part out, so the ring at his breast was hanging there and my early-morning mind went to Protective Nipple Ring Magic.  Which isn't where I thought the Magic that Vance uses would go... and actually, there's a Barbarian Wolf-Priest lurking in later chapters, and I can totally imagine wolf-fang nipple piercing and the grizzled Wolf-Priest grunting about how the magic of the clan comes from the bite of the wolf over the heart, and how his mother wore the wolf-fang he wears now -- and the next thing I knew I was reading about how you have to keep your new piercing clean for about six months to avoid infection and how some nipples go permanently numb after a piercing... but then I was back on the high plateau with Grundar the 40-something greying Wolf-Priest, talking about when his Mother bathed him in the icy waterfall in high summer before summoning the guardian wolf-pack that works with the clan to accept him as the new Wolf Priest (or eat him).  

Friday night got a little writing in and then colored dots of a migraine aura began to blur out parts of my vision.  I'm fairly lucky that the migraines I get aren't particularly painful, but they do make doing anything like reading or writing difficult.  Also, they do make my eyes ache as if they were not quite the right size for their sockets.

Saturday, I felt plain off and slightly nauseous,  so not much of anything.  Mark had something similar, so I'm thinking we caught some kind of bug.  

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Writing and Bubbles

Tuesday night was a writing night.  I wasted some time looking at the ephemeris I'd generated to work out exactly when the moons were full or new and came to the conclusion that I need to sit down and make a calendar that I cary around with me, because the tables are useful, but a little too detailed, which makes finding dates for the full or new moons difficult.  Also, it's easier to read the table on a larger screen than the iPad.

Then, of course, the keyboard started acting up -- it's had over five years of hard service between being carted everywhere in a shoulder-bag, and now the space bar and some of the keys in the " < > ? and ] area get stuck.  Having runonwordswithnospaces can really break the writing flow.  Bridging the keyboard over my knees seems to improve its performance, so I typed that way for a while (it's also the way I type when I'm in the car and the iPad is draped over the steering wheel).

I managed to pump out about1800 words in about a two hour period.  Mark loaned me his headphones, which really helped; there might have been a baby crying in the foyer where I was, but I'm not sure, because the phones blocked the sound and I was listening to Renaissance dance tunes from Germany, Italy, and England.   I went bace and forth between several scenes, and once again found myself telling Vance's back-story in the village of Perinth before he left for the capitol of Lampton.  I'd worked out how he'd do a spell . . .  and (d'oh!) I've just realized I need a good reason for the characters to not have a mundane locksmith make a copy of the key they've got.   

The down side of a long writing session is that my hands were a little sore when I woke up (some days are heavy typing days at work, too).  I'm not sure if it's from all the typing or if it's from the rainy weather we're having.  

The other day Mark discovered was the perfect morning for blowing bubbles -- the humidity and coldness and pre-dawn stillness made it so that the bubbles he blew stuck to the grass in the backyard for a good half and hour.  While he was blowing them he looked like one of those whimsical wonder-workers from a late 1980's painting.  In the next painting he'd be dusting and hanging up a ker-jillion stars.  In the painting after that he'd be ribbon dancing clouds into existence just it time for them to turn flamingo pink from a sunrise.  In the next, he'd be bringing a mountain pine martin a snack while surrounded by cardinals, blue jays, and tanagers.  

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Writing Report

Writing report... Thursday I think (obviously I need to keep better records) I wrote about 500 new words.  Friday was what I'm going to call a "research night" -- some editing and looking up Jacobean architecture and Roman-style tenements.  Saturday was my Sister's Birthday (which was a lot of fun), so another research day.  Sunday, Mark and The Child left the house and I managed about 1500 new words. 

I looked at my total word count for the project, and I'm at 21,000 of Very Rough words.  Ideally, I'll be at 30,000 at March 1--the Full Moon--which is in two days.   On one hand, a lot of that is notes to myself, or practice scenes, or warm-up paragraphs that can be cut.  On the other hand, there's lots of space for expanding. 

I feel like I keep writing back-story, which will turn this into a YA novel if I'm not careful. 

Monday, February 26, 2018

Gym Report

Went to the gym Friday.  260 cal on the Nordic Eliptical.  3x13x30lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(40+50+60+70)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curls on the Roman Chair.  3x13x30lbs barbell curls.  13X(30+30+40)lbs on the triceps pulldown. 

Went to the gym Sunday.  450 cal on the Nordic Eliptical.  3x13x30lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x3x30lbs on the pec fly.  (I pulled my right pectoral slamming a car door shut, I think, so I was going easy). 13x(40+50+60+70)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curls on the Roman Chair.  3x13x30lbs barbell curls.  13x3x30lbs on the triceps pulldown.  3x10X5lbs lbs on a lat extension and forward lat extensions (with my thumbs up.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

Gym and Writing and Tequila

Went to the gym Wednesday.  260 cal on the Nordic Eliptical.  3x13x30lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(40+50+60+70)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curls on the Roman Chair.  3x13x30lbs barbell curls.  13X(30+30+40)lbs on the triceps pulldown.  2x5x7lbs on a lat extension (apparently I should always keep my thumbs up, so rotating my arms to an open lat extension is not so good).

Wednedsay Word Count:  650 words, mostly in the evening.  The "introduce the friends to the boy-friend" scene is threatening to turn into an Agatha Christie "the murder suspects are seated for dinner" scene.  I think ten minutes of sitting down and drawing a quick map of a small lodge and garden (and cutting down the house staff) is in order.

 I looked at Tuesday night's words and they're is a definite trend of deminishing returns as the day progressed.  I think I had 400 words Tuesday morning, then about 800 from the afternoon and early evening, then another 800.  The last 800 were a feuled in part with margaritas; so while there were some useful character relavations from Jerick (the axe-fighter) to Vance (the wizard)  that I can use during an intimate emotional scene, there was also a significant portion--I'd say about a third--of my id writing gay erotica.

I need to train my id to have a wider vocabulary.  And how to spell.

Writing with tequila only confirms my earlier experiences that drinking and writing produces mixed results at best.  Also, as Tim Powers wisely said at WOTF over a decade ago, you don't want your writing to be dependent on a ritual like alcohol (or caffeine or any other mood altering substance).

Thursday morning and it's snowing.  School's are on a two-hour delay, but Mark may just keep The Child home (editor's note:  there wasn't nearly as much snow as there appeared to be before sunrise, and The Child went to school).

Solid Marks for Black Panther

The Child and I saw "Black Panther" the other day.  I'd say it was a solid, origin story, Marvel Comics Movie.  I think the contrasts and comparisons between Black Panther's and Killmonger's character development were a little lost on The Child, who seemed to like Klaue's character a lot (mostly because of his weaponry).  I thought many of the conflicts centered around building barriers or building bridges, which feels germane to today's polarized United States.

However, I feel like I must be missing something--and reading various reviews it appears to be references to African and African-diaspora cultures--because I have so many friends who are raving about how stunning the movie is.  I'm recognizing that the fictional country of Wakanda as a bright imagining of how we could be is very important and that this is a culturally significant turning point in movie making.  While I liked "Black Panther" more than I did  "Guardians of the Galaxy I," "Captain America: Civil War" or even "Thor: Ragnarock", for me "Dr. Strange" was more enjoyable (but then again, I've always had a soft spot for the Sorcerer Supreme--and Mark says this makes me an outlyer.)  

And of course I want some of the hats in "Black Panther"... especially the toroidal cross-section ones.

On the writing front:  I managed to get about 2000 words in Tuesday.  I think 1500 are fairly solid... and we'll see how much of them are still in place after a few editing rounds.   The trick will be doing 2000 words a few days in a row.  Did I say trick, I meant requirement.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Writing Weekend with Ice

Went to the Gym Saturday afternoon.  About 300 calories on the Nordic Elliptical.  13x(30+40+50)lbs o the pec fly.  3x13x30lbs on the deltoid fly.  13x(50+60+70+80)lbs on the lat pull-down.  3x13 curls on the Roman chair.  3x13x30lbs on the barbell curl.  3x13x30lbs on the triceps pull-down.  5x5x5lbs on a sort of combination arm-flapping motion where I keep my elbows straight and move at the shoulders while alternating the dumbbell vertical or horizontal depending on how I rotate my humorous around my radius.

The gym was filled (or so it seemed) with humorless, square-jawed, blocky folks.  Groany McSlamweights was there (I am not sure why some folks have to sound like their making love when they lift weights), and at one point one of the attendants told him to tone it down. 

Writing:  I spent a lot of time editing; on the plus side, I have a rough first-draft of an opening chapter.  I managed about 800 new words.  I'm reminding myself that forward progress is progress... and right now I am more likely to reach my 90,000 word count by May 1 if I just write without using the backspace key.  I'm thankful for Scrivener, which allows me to break up my writing into scenes, vignettes, character sketches, and parts where I'm arguing with myself into separate, organizable sub-documents.   On days when I don't feel creative, I can always dive into the waiting drafts.  I think the pit-fall I have to be aware of is getting distracted with characters' back-stories... on one hand, it's useful to have some key scenes, but on the other, I'm wanting to start the story when the main characters are in their twenties, not their teens or childhoods.   

On the weather front, we woke up Sunday to a light frosting of snow, which melted, and then returned and then melted and returned again.  The Child was ecstatic at the prospect of a possible snow day (there's no school on Monday in any case) and of extorting the neighbors for money for shoveling drives.   When the snow fell, it came down in cakes of think flakes.  Later in the day, rain drizzled down, as if it came from a greenhouse mister, in a more typical Oregon February fashion.

Mark and I (OK, mostly Mark) cleaned out the garage, so we were able to actually get the car into it.  This enabled me to drive to work without having to scrape ice and snow off of the car.  The forecast warned about black ice on the roads, but the streets were mostly dry.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Selfie ?

Friday Morning . . .

Not much writing the last few days.  I'd say a new word count of 500 words plus some editing of individual scenes and re-organizing them.  On  theplus side, I wrote a scene  with Jerick's sister, Jynene.  So I've got some good back-story there.   Maybe I'll blame the new moon for the low word count.

Went to the gym Thursday night.  260 cal on the Nordic Eliptical.  3x13x30lbson the deltoid fly.  13x(30+40+50)lbs on the pec fly.  13x(50+60+70)lbs on the lat pull down.  3x13 Roman Chair curl ups.   3x13x30lbs barbell curls.  3x13x30lbs on the triceps pull-down.

I nearly fell off the Roman Chair laughing because I was thinking I should take one of those post-gym workout shots where you stand at a bathroom sink with a towel wrapped around your midsection and take a selfie in a steamed-up mirror.  That was fine until I started imagining making little tiger growls and various grrr faces.  Part of the humor is the gym-selfie genre of photography.  I realize that regular documentation makes a good motivational tool, but so often I think gym-photos get used on social media as self-advertisements.  Also, the commodification of individual muscle groups often veers into the absurd (Look! I've become these bulging biceps; my pectorals have eclipsed my personality).  And then there's the juxtoposition of a 50-something IT/writer nerd making a grrr face into a camera.

Friday afternoon and evening I felt sore and tired, so I soaked in the bath and read the anthology "Robots vs. Fairies"; so far one gross story and a bunch of really cool ones.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Writing and Valentines

Tuesday night:  about 700 words and some editing from about 7PM to 9PM.  Not the most productive night in terms of word-count anyway... I think I was thinking more about the choreography of the village battle scene I was working on.  I'd found an article on abandoned 15C-17C English villages, and I was trying to retro-fit some of the concepts of a front toft garden and a back crofter field.  (What was "interesting" about the villages was three out of the five presented were abandoned because the landlords wanted the land for a garden or sheep farming... so I guess the farmers were tenant peasants.)   I also was working out some spell usage and technology, so the word flow had to slow while I figured out how a particular spell worked.

At this rate, I'm going to have something like 7000 words in ten days, or 21000 in a month or 63,000 by Mayday... which is 30,000 words under the 90,000 words goal.  Sigh.  Today is Valentine's Day and the new moon.  I've got the March 1 Full Moon (two weeks), and then two more Full Moons after that.

Valentine's Day is rainy this year:  lots of rain and sun and hail and sun and dark storm clouds.  I got Mark some coffee; unfortunately, it's got a key lime flavor he doesn't like -- so we're going to see if we can exchange it for something he does like (he likes fruity blends, and I'm glad I didn't try getting him a super dark roast).  

I was thinking of Valentines Past, and how we used to have Valentine Craft Parties . . .  I miss the snarkiness of the anti-Valentines we used to make, but the nuiances of sarcasm aimed at the greeting card industry instead of sarcasm aimed at people is something that The Child would take the wrong way (and run with).  I think next year we should have another go at Valentines and have both styles.