Friday, December 19, 2008

Gearing Up

The last two days I've been focused on remedying some computer issues that have been plaguing me. The thesaurus wasn't installed in Open Office on my new Linux laptop. When I'm at an absolute stall in my writing, I live and die by the thesaurus. I'll just go trolling around in Visual Thesaurus until I stumble on a word that gathers more words around it. Eventually, I end up with a sentence. So I'd been trying to figure out how to get my Open Office thesaurus function to work and was messing around with command prompts which ended up royally screwing up my operating system to the point that I couldn't save a document without the Open Office program crashing. Not good. So I had to roll my laptop back to the factory settings by booting it off of the recovery disc. While trying to accomplish this, I inadvertently wiped the hard drive on my desktop. This could easily have been a major disaster, but I'm very diligent about backing up my files. As it stands, I have all of my most important works backed up on a thumb drive and an external hard drive. I have over 500 poems that I'd hate to loose. But I could never loose all of them in a single, catastrophic event because the bulk of them are backed up on and the earliest works are stored on floppy disks. And of course my Project Reach files are all on my laptop, desktop and on my USB flash drive. The completed chapters are further safeguarded by being uploaded online as Google Docs.

So after toasting all the data on my desktop, I just went ahead and installed Ubuntu on it and will work on moving my files over from the external hard drive this weekend or over Christmas break. So I'm all converted to Linux now. That's progress.

Having my head all junked up with tech, I wasn't in the right state of mind to write David, but I did work on a poem I began jotting down while at work. I haven't written a poem in more than months; it's been whole seasons since I've completed a verse. But this piece, although slightly disjointed, is good. It's not 'there' yet, and I'll likely make at least two more editing passes at it, but it felt really good to output some verse. I can feel MarLo in this one. Or maybe there's just a lot of me in MarLo.

I have been meaning for a few months to send out a round of poetry submissions, but never followed through on my intentions due to computer and printer issues. I was shocked to realize that I haven't published any verse since 2006, and even that was a piece from 2005. It's just ridiculous to think that I haven't sent any submissions out in over two years because some of my absolute best works (or at least my current favorites) came out of 2007 and 2006. I have a list of journals and magazines that I've checked out. It's just a matter of choosing appropriate pieces for the forum, formatting to the publisher's standards, taking that deep, sickening breath, and hitting the send button (or dropping the letter in the mailbox). I fully intend on seeking to publishing at least a half dozen of my better poetic works this coming year in an attempt to beef up my credits so that when Project Reach is finished and I send out queries to agents, mine will perhaps be slightly more appealing than those of other freshman novelists who maybe have no publishing credits at all.

It will be a big help during this submission push to have a functioning printer. I've gone years without a printer at home because my Epson, though technically still functional, was such a pain about the ink cartridges always being full and I could never afford to keep all seven of them in supply. Eventually the nozzles clogged to an insupportable degree and I just gave up using it altogether. But for Christmas, I bought my mother a color copier, printer, fax, scanner combo. One of her hobbies is to color copy her snapshots and cut them out to make collages. It's not even in the same league as scrapbooking, but she enjoys it immensely. She used to drive all the way into the next town to go to the offices of the local newspaper and pay 75 cents a page to make color copies on their machine. So I got her a Brother color copier/printer for Christmas. It's got big, back lit, mom-friendly buttons and only four ink cartridges, the refills for which are the least expensive of all the major brands. I keep it on my desk hooked up to my desktop computer upon her insistence, and I'm very happy with it.

In addition to sending out a round of poetry submissions, I also dream of applying to some local artist residency programs. I should fill out the applications I've had lying on my desk for over a year now. It would be good for me to sequester myself for the purpose of writing. I just find it so difficult to get anything written in the evenings when my brain is out of juice for the day. I did get to snatch a few minutes of time to write at work today. 36 minutes to be exact. This was broken up into about five separate intervals of varying lengths. But in those few short interludes I was able to fix a transition in Chapter 3 that had been bothering me and extend he narrative by about three lines. That doesn't sound like much, but it's a lot of progress in such a short time. I take it as further testament to the fact that I do my best work during the day when I'm working and not free to write.

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