Monday, October 27, 2008


I've been slogging through some major self doubt. I'm not into the meat of my story yet, which will begin during Claire and MarLo's Halloween party, and so it's been nearly impossible for me to motivate myself to go through the necessary setup and development to get to the good stuff. But I do have some direction for the next leg of my journey owing to two weeks of hard thought on David's relationship with his mother and how his inability to emotionally connect with others must deeply injure her. I have a good friend who recently married and now has a 6-yr-old stepson who is not an affectionate little boy. He doesn't hug or snuggle or cuddle, and this makes it very hard for her to connect with him. I've been observing them closely and trying to get inside of Katharine's (David's mother's) head, and inside David's head when he contemplates her. It's ... tough. It's alien territory. I haven't been pushing myself at all, though, and I don't think this is a bad thing. The relationship that I'm contemplating, that I will be exploring in Chapter 3, is a delicate one, very fragile, the kind of relationship that if one party pushes too hard on the other, the whole superstructure collapses like a house of cards. So I've just been trying to be a quiet observer to see if I can get a feel for how the mother and son interact.

I am going to re-read my first two chapters and see if I can't get at least a very rough and horrible sketch of Chapter 3 done as I will have to polish it up on Friday night and Saturday in order to get it to my pact reader on Sunday night. And I won't be able to work on anything all week except for Wednesday. I'm going to the opera tomorrow night and Thursdays are always booked up with a political discussion least until after the election, then I'm going to a once a month schedule which will be a huge relief. It will take the strain off of my budget and free up a huge chunk of time, and hopefully will help me stop smoking once and for all. I can go all week without a single cigarette but Thursday nights at the pub kill me.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Baby Steps

Only a small bit of writing done today during my lunch break at work. It's almost unbearably rough, but it's something. I haven't made much of an attempt to write this week as I've been preoccupied with my plans for a new sewing project to keep me busy during the long winter (as if writing weren't enough to keep me busy!) But I can't abandon all of my regular pursuits just to write, write, write. That would be an awful and frustrating existence. I need something to blow off some steam. I have been reading some Henry James, and his internal dialog is very interesting and might inspire me to get back to writing on Chapter 3.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


Well, though I've invited my first readers to read my first two chapters, so far the response has been...nonexistent. I'm quite discouraged by this and I realize now that I'd been counting on some positive feedback to keep me energized for this next chapter, which I have not yet begun (having wasted the entire weekend refreshing my memory on all things Jane Austen and enjoying Jon Jory's delightful stage adaptation of "Pride and Prejudice" at Louisville's Actor's Theatre). I am starting to realize that I have to be careful not to let external factors control my motivation to write. I have to write for the pure joy of it, even when it's a trial to sit and type. So I'm trying not to be too disappointed that my friends aren't fawning over how brilliant I am. I know that one friend who has been desperate to read my work had some difficulties with the Google Group sign in and that prevented her from accessing the chapters this weekend. She will try again on Tuesday. The others have busy lives and I shall excuse them for their lack of enthusiasm. I cannot, however, excuse myself of my lack of enthusiasm. Tomorrow I shall start afresh and try to sit and write no matter the cost in terms of time or energy. Perhaps I'll even take a pencil and paper to bed and write longhand as a sort of punishment for my sloth this weekend.

Also, I've order my own copies of Emotional Intelligence and Mind Wide Open. They are such useful references. I should also like to get a copy of Proust was a Neuroscientist, but I'll have to wait for my next pay cycle for that indulgence, I'm afraid.

Chapter 2 Quotes

"She attempts to throw a wet arm around my shoulder. She misses and punches me lightly in the ear instead. I study her through sleep-swollen eyes. She doesn’t look as if she’s had an amazing night. She looks almost as if she’d been waterboarded and enjoyed it. Her generous application of eyeliner and mascara stream down both cheeks, and her usually spiky hair is plastered to her forehead and neck in dripping tendrils. When I look into her eyes, there is no genuine mirth there. They are unfocused and filled with a dull horror."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Road Trip!

Oh, to have a laptop! Procuring a laptop will become a priority very soon. I've planned an excursion to Bloomington in two weeks and will need to be able to have my computing powers on board with me as I travel. I'm going to double book the weekend since I will just be walking the campus to get a feel for it anyway. The plan is to rent a car (which will pay for itself in gas savings alone) for the weekend and head up early on a Saturday, stroll the campus and take a lot of snapshots, sample the local fare and soak up some atmosphere. Then I'll head out of town to a camp site and spend Sunday doing a lovely autumnal hike before driving back home and dropping off my rental. The fall foliage should be at or near its peak then, so I'm hoping for a gorgeous drive, a balmy day to explore campus and a breathtaking hike.

I've also discovered BloomingPedia, a wiki dedicated to all things Bloomington. Very helpful.

I'm ridiculously nervous about hearing back from my Reach Readers. I'm almost positive that everyone I've invited will come on board, but I am unsure of the reception the written material will get. I'm afraid it's still a little dense and, well, boring. And I'm still not absolutely sure that I have the talent to pull off alternating first person POV. There are so many challenges involved. Sigh! I'm going to log off and meditate and perhaps that will help soothe me.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Chapter 2 Revisions & Reach Readers!

Completed a major edit of Chapter 2 last night. I can't believe how much it was improved by simply reordering some of the paragraphs and deleting some extraneous information. It's much more focused now and has a tighter, cleaner read.

This chapter took me by surprise. I had wanted to have Claire introduce us to her hopes for the future, but she never got around to it. Instead, the focus of the chapter became her concern for those around her. Chapter 2 is Claire's compassion (and a healthy dose of the history of The Deck and MarLo's academic career). And I guess it's a good thing that I have so much leftover material that didn't make it into this chapter, because I really hadn't put much thought into what I'm going to have Claire thinking and doing next. Her life is fairly dull for the time being, so I've tried to remedy the lull by having her focus on her friends and co-workers who have more active lives.

I'm excited to get started on David's chapter tonight because I have decided that his Mom will drop in for a visit. She's ostensibly working on a freelance science article and needs to interview one of the professors, but I suspect she really just misses her son. I have a lovely conversation between them planned that exposes the reader to David's emotional blindness. I wasn't
going to explain away his style of relating to the world, but I've come to see that it's necessary. And his mother is the perfect tool for me to use for this exposition.

But the most exciting thing is that I now have a completed pair of chapters to upload, which means (JOY) I can FINALLY invite my panel of first readers to the Google Group. It's taken much longer than I thought, but I'm not fussed about my writing pace. This is a marathon, not a sprint. As long as the quality is there in abundance, then I can take as long as I want to write the long as I have it completed before I turn 30, because that's the goal! But there's no real danger of Project Reach stretch out for that long. I'm still working on some self-discipline issues, but I've made a pretty impressive commitment so far and I don't intend on relenting.

Reach Readers have OFFICIALLY been sent invitations now! I'm so excited, I'm sure I'll never get to sleep. Maybe I'll pick up some of the Henry James I recently bought at a library book sale.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I Don't Write Bones

More writing than blogging, for once. Part of the reason, I'm sure, is because I have had precious little creative output total in the past week and a half, so there is little to spare as pure slush that makes its way onto the blog.

But after having written through the pain of writing poorly last night in order to make my pact deadline, I am feeling spectacularly artistically unrestrained today. I've even started work on a poem, but may not follow through with it as it will distract me from the need to set down David's second chapter.

I picked up a copy of Writing Down the Bones at the library book sale, and I must say it is an absolutely dreadful writers reference. Not only is it severely out of date (having been written before computers were widely relied upon) but it is inane and self-indulgent to an annoying degree. Also, the advice outlined in its pages is completely contrary to how I choose to write. I prefer, since I am not a 'professional' writer and have severe time limitations on my writing sessions, that I not waste energy with unneeded words that will later be edited out. My method of fully imagining a scene before I set down to write it saves me many wasted hours at the keyboard. I can imagine anywhere, anytime. I can even imagine while still functioning in the world. I can imagine at work or on the road. And so I do. In this way, when I do get a chance to sit down to the keyboard, the bulk of the prose is already written in my mind and all I need do is type it out and edit as I go.

I am informed by an Entertainment Weekly article that Nicholas Sparks writes 2,000 words in a day. I average just over that in two weeks. Part of me wants to believe what the world is telling me through articles like this and books like Writing Down the Bones, that I'm doing it all wrong. The rest of me wants to put aside self-doubt and believe what I know: that there is no wrong way.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Media Fast?

I didn't even sit down to write until midnight tonight. This very bad. I may have to kill my TV again.

In the past, I have found it periodically necessary to go on a media fast. No computer (except at my day job), no TV, no radio, no cell phone, no Nintendo DS. Sometimes I will extend the fast to include printed media. I doubt I'll be doing that any time soon, but I will have to keep a sharper eye on how much time I spend watching television instead of researching or writing. I shall have to force myself to sit down and write instead of tweaking my fantasy football roster or trolling for flair on Facebook (two of my favorite time sinks).

And now I'm blogging instead of writing, so I shall have to cut this short and get cracking on Claire's chapter, which is coming along nicely after last night's revisions.