Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The Suffering Means I Am A Real Writer, Right?

Writing is hard, and when it isn't bliss, it sucks a lot.
And the bliss is a depressingly low percentage.
So, I wrote the main chunk of my novel (the first 50,000 words) during NaNoWriMo, then took a break, then finished it (total of approx 75,000 words).  Since then I've been working on revising/editing, and halfway through I basically just got sick of it.  Two other ideas for new stories started blooming in the back of my mind, but I pushed them aside, determined to keep going on my  novel.
After suffering through trying to force myself to keep revising I have finally decided to move on to something else, for now.  I still like my novel and my characters and I feel weirdly like I am abandoning them, and I actually know what changes I want to make, it's just that I feel like I need to spend some time away from it.  I have completely lost perspective.
I feel:
  • guilty
  • like a failure for not following through to the end
  • lazy for stopping work
  • excited for the other ideas
  • confused
  • tense when I am not writing
  • happy when I am
  • hatred for myself for not writing more
  • proud of myself for writing at all

The two other ideas are only partially fleshed out in my mind, and I don't want to start work on either one of them quite yet.  When I wrote my novel I thought about it for months beforehand, setting up a fairly detailed outline and doing extensive character sketches.  I had the plot pretty much completely mapped out, and it worked well for me.  I don't want to start on either of the other two until I know more about what's supposed to happen and who the characters are.
So this past weekend, after not writing or revising or anything for two months and getting more and more stressed and freaked out every day, I finally just started writing the first thing that popped into my head.  It feels disorienting to be writing aimlessly, but wonderful to be writing.  I know a lot of writers write everything that way, but I find the idea of having things planned out very comforting.  I'm not even sure what this is going to be, but so far I am liking it a lot.  It's kind of fun to be surprised.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Florida Fog

I took this pic with my cell phone out of my car window.  I was on my way to work and had to sit motionless for what seemed to be an extraordinarily long time because of road construction, which obviously needs to be done during rush hour.  This was early in the morning, just as the sun was coming up, and it was beautifully foggy.

This pic with the farm-style fence really reminds me of southwestern Virginia.  I could just swear that fog is hiding mountains...

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Normally, I Actually LIKE Having My Period

My period (it's okay, you can stop reading right here) was due while I was in Georgia visiting Mom.  Of course, because of the traveling and the stress and the being away from home, it didn't.  Typical!

I was sure it would start on the long drive home and took pre-emptive measures expectantly, but no.

No, my uterus was waiting for Tuesday; my first day back at work and the day of our department's "team building" outing to go have lunch together and play mini-golf.

I've never played mini-golf before, and am so completely non-athletic that even this tiny amount of physical competition was intimidating.  I was not the kid in school who was sad and traumatized to be picked last, I was happy to be picked last, and tried to avoid any type of sporting activity completely if at all possible.  I was the kid sitting alone in a patch of sunshine daydreaming while the other kids ran around in the fresh air wondering if I was sick or something.

So there we are in a mall, in a mini-golf course designed by stoned teenagers with black lights and day-glow monsters painted on the walls, clutching our bright orange putters and wearing glow stick bracelets.  Positive that my uterus would betray me at this very moment, and already in some amount of pain, I had taken 600 mg of ibuprofen.  Halfway through the course, somewhere between the underwater glowing pink fish and orange coral room and the knights with 3D swords in the castle room my pain kicked into overdrive.  Thank goodness for the rule limiting each attempt to make the hole to only 6 shots.

Out of the 9 of us, I came in dead last.  Stupid uterus!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

"Mother's love is peace. It need not be acquired, it need not be deserved." ~ Erich Fromm

I left at around 7:30am on Thursday, took the 408 across Orlando to the FL Turnpike north to 75 up into Georgia to 475 around Macon then back to 75 then the 675 to the bypass around Atlanta to 85 north to 985 which took me to Gainesville, GA.  509 miles and almost 8 hours later, I was at Mom's. 
We always go to IHOP to have breakfast for dinner the night I get there, we always get bacon and eggs and pancakes and the yummy drinks they make with Sprite and fruit juice.  I took a picture of Mom sitting at the table at IHOP waving hello, and texted it to Greg.
Over the next two days I took Mom to pick out new glasses, helped her clean under her microwave, had lunch with her friends at the retirement home, washed and changed her comforter/bedskirt/pillowshams, had shrimp and key lime pie at Red Lobster, had macaroni and cheese and green beans and sweet tea at a local southern food restaurant, took her to the drugstore to pick up vitamins and Altoids, and looked through several old photo albums. 
It was basically the exact same visit I always have, but it was nice.  It makes me uncomfortable to go too long without seeing Mom, and although I speak to her every day on the phone, it's not as good as catching up in person.
She seems happy enough, has several pretty good friends there in the retirement home, and she has frequent visits from our relatives who live near there (especially my brother, my sister, and my niece).  But she is almost 90, and it's harder for her to get around, and she gets tired quickly.  Our days consisted of me hanging out with her for an hour or two and then going away to let her rest for an hour or two.  It's so very nice to be in the retirement home's guest room, right upstairs from her.

Sunday morning I left early and got home late afternoon.  Greg cooked steak for dinner, and as wonderful as my visit with Mom was, it was lovely to relax in my own home.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

It's Late

I finally finished scanning two giant old photo albums/scrapbooks that I borrowed at Christmas and need to return to my mom tomorrow.  Why did I wait until today to do it?

Well, it's just so much more dramatic fun to be able to beat myself up over not having done it sooner.

Today Greg took my car to be serviced, got two new tires and an oil change and several miscellaneous repairs that I don't understand.  I am so glad I have him to take care of me, in this vital automotive way.  I feel safe.

I haven't packed much.  I am trying to load up my iPod with as many interesting songs and podcasts as I have room for.  I'll pack everything else in the morning.

Tomorrow the alarm will go off at 6:40 am and I'll leave for north Georgia.  I need to go sleep, it's an 8-hour drive tomorrow.

I am SO looking forward to seeing my mom.  :)

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Right Now

It's my husband's birthday.  We took a few days off work to celebrate, just like we did last month for my birthday.

Saturday we went to Costco and ran errands and got things done.

Sunday morning we went with two good friends to the drag queen gospel brunch at a local restaurant: Bananas, and it was a lot of fun.  Sunday night Greg made pizza with fresh mozzarella cheese, spinach, rotisserie chicken and artichokes, and afterwards we watched a good movie.

Monday, unfortunately, he had to go to the dentist to have three small cavities filled.  This is not a good birthday activity, but he insisted since he already had the day off work.  He had never had cavities filled before, but everything went fine.

Today is his 37th birthday, and I told him he needed to do whatever made him happy all day long.  He started the day by sleeping late, then got up and made us omelets (using more of the fresh mozzarella, the spinach, and mushrooms).  He checked Facebook, watched an episode of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, read an X-Men graphic novel, and is now taking a nap.

It's very stormy here today.  I had to run out into the rain earlier to retrieve our trash can lid, which had blown a block away.  It's still windy and thundery outside, so it's great napping weather.

When he wakes up (assuming he sleeps long enough, anyway) I'll have a birthday cake just coming out of the oven for him.  It's a happy day!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

"Film spectators are quiet vampires" ~ Jim Morrison

The Shining (Netflix dvd) - This is the 1997 miniseries, written by Stephen King and directed by Mick Gannis.  I heard that Stephen King was unhappy with the changes that Stanley Kubrick made in his film, and wanted to make his own version that was more true to the book.  We didn't like this one at all, we felt like the pacing was weird because of the miniseries format, the direction seemed really heavy-handed and the little signs of the hotel's malicious power (like doors closing by themselves) seemed cheesy.  Greg just finished reading the Shining for the first time, and neither of us had seen this version, so we thought we'd give it a try, but even though it is much closer to the book we didn't like it and bailed halfway through. 

Bourne Ultimatum (Netflix dvd) - I liked the third one quite a bit, as Jason Bourne's bad-assery is enjoyably on display.  Apparently a new movie called the Bourne Legacy is in the works and expected to be released next year, but Matt Damon won't be in it, and it will not be about Jason Bourne.  I am not sure how I feel about that, but I really, really, really like Matt Damon, and I immediately lose a good portion of interest knowing he won't be in it.

The Town (Netflix Blu-ray) = Directed by and starring Ben Affleck, and he is, I must say, a cutie.  This is a really intelligently made movie with wonderful performances and a good story, but ultimately it didn't really move me.  A fun way to spend a couple of hours. 

127 Hours (Vudu HD Streaming) = Boy, this is one of those movies that just grabs you by the neck and shakes you around.  I do mean that in a good way.  Absolutely haunting, extremely intense, I got so lost in it I forgot I knew (more or less) how it would end, since it is based on a true story.  Brilliant.

Salt (Netflix Blu-ray) = I probably shouldn't even list this one, since we didn't make it past the first ten minutes.  Life is too short and there are too many other movies!

Sling Blade (HD cable) = I had never seen this movie, and it's not only a classic but one of Greg's favorites.  I was completely entranced from the first few minutes.  Of course, to me liking something like a book or a movie means having to see/read everything else that person has done.  When I looked up Billy Bob Thornton's other writing credits, I saw that he wrote one of my favorite movies nobody's ever heard of: The Gift. I never knew that.  

Hopefully the Watch More Movies initiative will continue with Jane Eyre, which is breaking my heart by not playing in any theatres near me, and with the remaining movies that were nominated for Best Picture this year:  Black Swan, The Fighter, The King's Speech.  I'm still not sure if I care to see Toy Story 3, though  :)