Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Writing Murmuration

I am in a sweet spot of writing. I get to be in workshops/classes with the writing mammals who give me breath and space and hold each other close and tell truths.

I just completed a twelve-week online manuscript writing workshop with Ariel Gore in The Literary Kitchen. This was my second time in that class and I am solid in my book now; moving it forward. I can feel in my body that this project is right and it will get done.

Then, just to make sure I keep on with the edits, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. There are many differences between November NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo (there is one in April and one in July), but one of the big ones is that in Camp, you set your own goal. This is only my second time in Camp N and this time I set my goal to editing 90 pages in the 30 days. I know that doesn't sound like much, but I am working with the printed manuscript and editing by hand. If I find the editing and rewriting goes faster, I can increase my goal.

Sunday started an online Short Story writing workshop/class with Ariel in the Literary Kitchen. It kicked off on Friday with signing up for the boards and a pre-assignment. This one is three weeks and I am already loving it.

Then, this recent weekend I spent Friday night through Sunday late afternoon at the Corporeal Writing Center with an in-person Spring Seasonal Revision workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch and Domi Shoemaker and is was also magic. I need the balance of online and in person - and I need to have time in person with my Corporeal Writing tribe. And the Lidia & Domi infusion.

I am swimming in the words of the writers I get to share time with online and in person. I feel sated and wanting more simultaneously and my writing is flowing for it.

Last night I watched a video of a starlings murmuration and I was mesmerized. I was not able to find the exact video to share, but this one is close. The murmuration looks like how I felt this weekend. the gathering, forming, reforming. spreading out and coming back together; in sync and yet many individuals of the whole. Rise and fall and dropping back quietly, efficiently, whole, into a place of rest before returning to the next part of the journey.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Swimming in Words

I'm still writing. Still in the online manuscript class with Ariel Gore and it is fantastic and progress is being made. I have had some major insights and rewrites and this project is getting done!

photo by Domi Shoemaker
I'm preparing to interpret some theatre. Which is awesome. The first is an incredible, new, vibrant musical of "Scarlet" - The Scarlet Letter from Hester's perspective.

The last two weekends I interpreted poetry competitions (high school student reciting published works of Poets from across the ages). That is always an inspirational and exciting event. And our amount of preparation is huge - but I love it.

And I'm writing. At the end of this month I have a Corporeal Writing workshop and boy, do I need that infusion, too. I've haven't been in a workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch since last summer and I am looking forward to this one (it's one of the seasonal series). I did have a workshop with Brigid Yuknavitch last fall and that was so, so good.

And. That's what I'm doing. Interpreting, writing, theater. I have written the bones of a couple of essays, but there is much to go before those are done. But it's a start so that I won't lose those thoughts.

And I'm wondering what to do with this blog. I'd like to revise it, but right now, I have plenty to do and not the same amount time. It's all good and the balance will come.

Right? Right.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Moving the Manuscript Forward

It's been a while since I've written about my writing, about the process I'm in.

I have been writing quite a bit. I started the winter manuscript class with Ariel Gore strong, writing and editing every day. As theatre commitments increased, the writing decreased.

The good news is that writing never fell off. It just slid farther down the time scale as I prepared for two plays.

Then, this last week, I had no theater. No shows to watch for preparation, no translations to work on, no rehearsals. So, good news, more time for writing. These past three days I have done a lot of editing. I even enjoyed the editing process, which is new. My new system is working and - surprise - I am not hating editing! It has felt good to be in the flow of editing. And, while I initially was giving myself a hard time about it, I stopped that nonsense, too.

This project is going to the next level. I am taking it to the next level. While I am not going to get this draft done before the end of the workshop, I have already made significant progress and am going to continue. In a couple of weeks I have three weeks of intense interpreting work (on top of my regularly intense VRS work, smile) but right now I know that I will keep working on this. The amount of time will decrease a bit, necessarily, but I will not be stopped.

Taking this book to the next level. And I'm having fun!

Monday, January 22, 2018

Feeling Grateful

Last weekend I attended an in-person workshop with Ariel Gore, right here in Portland Oregon, It was a wonderful group a writers. We gathered in one participant's home, where we shared pieces of our projects and new writing. We played with editing in Ariel's useful, magical, inspiring "editing stations." We shared drinks and food provided by our kind and generous host. We talked about our writing and our process, about publishing and keeping on writing even when it gets difficult.

Two of the days were a little early for me; but I know that I'm the one with a non-traditional schedule and it was all fine. I survived. Now I'm getting back to my regularly scheduled schedule.

And I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.

I am still in the online three-month manuscript workshop with Ariel, which is also going really well. I am making some amazing progress on editing this draft, with a new deadline to get this thing done. To get it to where I can take it to the next level, meaning earnestly working on getting the book out into the world.

All this while working on a couple of wonderful productions: "Weaving Women Together" at Portland Playhouse (interpreted performance is this Wednesday 1/24 at 7:30 pm) and "2.5 Minute Ride" at Profile Theatre (interpreted performance will be Friday 2/2 at 7:30 pm). Both of these have strong scripts and strong, skilled actors to match.

Writing is happening every day, which was another goal with the manuscript workshop. It feels good.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Collage for my WIP

This is another assignment from the manuscript workshop with Ariel Gore.

Oh, first. My WIP has a new title. This change feels so right and it has injected the project and me with new energy. This is just what it needed. I'm not going to share here, yet, but I will. For now, the title I've been using has served me well and gotten the project to this point, but I have officially changed the name.

I also have the beginning and end of the book. It's not as easy as it sounds and has been one of the struggles for me. Where to start and where to stop. I've had all these pieces and possibilities. But now I know how it's going to go. Not the exact order of everything, but I do have the main thread and which stories belong in that.

This is what I made for the optional (but not really) assignment. This is a collage showing the feel of the project right now. This is radically different than the one I made last summer with the old title.

I am excited to be making movement in the project.

Friday, January 5, 2018

Pre-workshop Assignment

The manuscript workshop officially starts today. We've had a few things to do, including an assignment, before the workshop begins - which I love. To me it feels like "priming the pump" and these things do help to be ready to jump into the work we're doing: which is our manuscripts.

One of the tasks was to write an introduction.

I know! I feel like I should be able to sit down and write one up in a couple of minutes. As often as I have to do it - as an author/writer, as an interpreter, especially as a sign language interpreter. But it is almost always a difficult task for me. Being a shy introvert, putting myself - especially who-I-really-am - out there is not easy. I also like to make each bio, each introduction, relevant to the place or event needing it and to where I am in that moment of time in relation to that event.

I did write my introduction, which included a realization about me and writing. And, honestly, it's the first time in a long time I've felt this; I mean that I feel this through the core of who I am and there  is no hesitation.

I've been writing a long time, most of my life, with a few dry years sprinkled here and there. But this is a permanent thing and I no longer doubt that I am a writer. 

Sunday, December 31, 2017

Another Year Ahead

I don't do a big celebration on New Year's Eve any more. When I was younger, yes. I went out, went clubbing (though we didn't call it that), went to parties, sometimes drank too much, sometimes not. Music, dancing, friends and strangers, fun.

Then it became smaller gatherings, much less drinking (there's a story in how that came about, something about a van and my partner's purse, which I will write someday), a lot more staying home.

For the past several years I am often working on New Year's Eve and it's fun. At my part-time job it can be fun and those of us working past midnight take a little break to acknowledge and toast the change of numbers (with sparkling cider because, duh, we're at work - really, it is sparkling cider).

This New Year's Eve I am working. Looking forward to it. It will be the usual night crew and we'll have fun. We have snacks and a couple of us are going to order pizza since our lunch/dinner breaks are around the same time.

And my writing. I am writing. I just posted my final story in the Winter Intensive online workshop with Ariel Gore last night. I still have to do feedback for three other writers' stories, then that one wraps up. (After I copy all of the feedback on my pieces.)

Next week I start with the Winter Manuscript class with Ariel. I volunteered to be in the first group, so I have to get 10,000 words of the memoir ready to post by the 7th. They're almost ready, but not quite. With the holidays and the Winter Intensive workshop, and being down with the crud for two days, I lost momentum on the manuscript excerpt preparation. But I still have a week left with a few good chunks of time for writing within that week. In March/April I get to do the spring seasonal workshop at Corporeal Writing with Lidia Yuknavitch.

NaNo17 Coast Retreat, Oceanside OR
And. Yes. The end of 2017. It's been a rough year on many fronts. Many frustrations and outrages (due to outrageous events), many changes (some for the good in my personal life and others not so good in the bigger picture).

While I am happy to see the backside of 2017, for many reasons on a larger, national and international scale, 2018 doesn't look any better.

On a local and personal level, 2018 looks spectacular. I am writing more and this project may actually come to completion. This year? I don't know; but that would be nice. The second half of the theatre seasons (and the beginning of a new one for Profile Theatre) have awesome productions ahead and I am looking forward to those.

I have no profound words and I don't write New Year Resolutions. I make decisions and "resolutions" throughout the year and see no need to do it only this one time, so I don't.  I do hope that 2018 is a better year, even though I know there are so many challenges for so many of us still out there, so much left to defend and be vigilant. I hope that we can support and honor each other and keep that vigilance on our communities and the people, places, beings who are important. We are important.

Be strong. Be safe. Enjoy however it makes sense to you to usher 2017 out the door and welcome 2018. Keep writing and making art and dancing, creating in your own unique way.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

One week later

It has been a week plus a day since the end of NaNoWriMo. Another year of writing more than 50,000 words in a month (10th consecutive year) and this year I did write every day. I had two plays in November, and still managed to make write every day and meet the goal.

So, what's next?

I did have my regular writing Tuesday date this week - although we moved it to Monday because Tuesday was my birthday and I had breakfast plans before I started work. I did not write new work on Monday, but I did identify the next section for editing. Which is a big accomplishment; the even bigger accomplishment will be editing those sections.

I signed up for Ariel Gore's Winter Manuscript Class, which is a good thing. That gives me an external goal to edit and keep moving forward with the project. Which is one reason I signed up to do it! That and the fabulous feedback from Ariel and the other participants. And the deadlines. I will have to submit three 10,000 work chunks of writing for feedback. I requested to be in the first group, because I have a draft of the manuscript done and I am in the editing phase; I am not starting from scratch. So - I have now identified the sections I will be submitting and am working on revisions.

Or, I will be working on revisions. Soon. Actually, I do have a writing date next week, too, and have committed that time to writing even if that's all I can squeeze out next week.

This week has also been full of wonderful theatre as I prepare to interpret a classic production of "A Christmas Carol" by Portland Playhouse. Portland Playhouse has earned the awards they've won for this production: it is fun, colorful, visual, full of the holiday spirit, the cast works as an ensemble - it is a pleasure to be able to work with them to make *two* performances accessible (a plug: Wed 12/13 at 7:00 pm and Fri 12/22 at 2:00 pm; if you want access to the interpreters, choose yellow seats). This production is family friendly set in the traditional period.

I am also preparing to interpret "Twist Your Dickens" at Portland Center Stage at The Armory on Thu 12/21. This is the fifth year I've interpreted the production and the third time with the same  interpreter, Jayodin Mosher. We have fun with the show and work well together, never knowing exactly what we'll be interpreting because there is improv in this production, as well. This is not your traditional Christmas Carol (hence the name, *Twist* Your Dickens!) and PCS recommends this for ages 14+.  There is still a Scrooge and Bob Cratchit and a few other familiar characters, plus a whole lot more!

So, this last week, theater was back in the front seat with me and writing in the back. But soon, that seating arrangement will switch.

No complaints, just noticing the lovely seesaw of my creativity.