Saturday, September 13, 2014

Auroras, Princesses, and Writing

Last night Mark suggested that we go out at try to see any Aurora Borealis.  Arthur had misheard us, and thought we were going to some place called the "Aurora Bora Palace."  This led to a few jokes involving Madonna's Erotica album (by which time Arthur had fallen asleep, and presumably didn't hear).  

We drove North about 20 miles.  As soon as we got past the airport, the sky became much darker.  We saw the constellation Cassiopeia, and the Big and Little Dippers, but no aurora.  The lake we thought we'd park by was too dark for us to find, so after driving along various back roads, and heading out on 99E, we finally pulled off the road and a few feet onto a field.  The Milky Way was out and bright, but there was no aurora.  Mark was uncomfortable parking on the edge of a farmer's field, so we only stayed about five minutes and then wound our way to I-5 and back home.

Mark got up twice during the night, but didn't see any aurora.  I got up at 5:30ish, and also didn't see any aurora.  While my tea was brewing, I did manage to watch the ISS fly through Orion and past Jupiter.  I wrote outside under the stars and the moon until the family awoke, at which point I moved into the writer's closet. 

Before I went to bed, I set up the tea and wrote a few opening lines for the file that I'd work on in the morning (today).  This story is a little challenging, because it's taking some more erotic turns than I originally thought it would.  I almost got stuck, but I wrote "What are you afraid of?", then had one of the characters address the question, and managed to move beyond it.  I shouldn't be surprised the story is getting a little sexy/gritty, given that  I'm trying to write a story that hits most of the points made in "Fairytale Queens" which spent a chapter or two on the queen's reproductive role as a engine of dynasty.   My story is also about identity and agency, so I need to sit back and bring out those aspects more so that it doesn't turn into mere titillating eye candy with narrative bits thrown in.

The other difficulty writing it is that the fairy tale voice is out of vogue, and generates critiques of passive vote and narrative summary.  Also, I have to make sure that I break out of the fairy tale habit of reinforcing patriarchal values (a princess only has worth as a producer of male heirs).

In terms of process, journalling my writing has brought home how little I actually write.  I thought I was spending more time, but between not jumping out of bed at 5AM, stumbling around with tea and set-up, it's usually 5:30 or 5:45 when I start typing words.  I'll take the hours when I can, but if I really want to get two hours of writing in a day, that means setting things up before hand, getting up at 4:45 in order to be wrting at 5, and writng quietly before the family wakes up.  No e-mail, FB or Girl Genius.  I also need about 8 hours of sleep; if I stay up too late (past 9PM) it's a heck of a lot harder to get up, and I spend the first hour just waking up.  

Critique:  about 80 minutes.

Project:  Cyber Fairy Tale
Word Count 1350 words plus editing in about three hours + some not well tracked editing 

Workout:  150 calories in about 13 minutes, plus the full clinking weights routine.  Plus I did some back stretches on a pool floatie thing.   I'm pretty sure this yesterday was the first time I've experienced "See Tarzan, Hear Jane" at the gym where it hasn't been me (well, at least for me the Jane part).
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