Sunday, January 27, 2019

And ... I'm Back

*
I transferred my domain to a new company and experienced an outage for a short time. It was not the
fault of the new company. After a few frustrating days of this website being down and researching potential problems, the new company asked me a question which led me to the answer. Apparently the previous company did something which, once the domain was transferred, the DNS was not being read.

I tried to contact the original company via phone, but the wait time was longer than the time I had available. Later, after work (meaning at 2AM), I was going to try again and discovered that they had a 24-hour online chat available, so I decided to do that, so I could attend to a couple of other things during the inevitable wait.

The wait. Yes. at 2AM I was #164 in the queue (no exaggeration) and the wait was estimated to be at least 58 minutes. At 2AM.

No.

I gave up, disconnected, and went to bed.

As happens from time to time, a potential solution came to me while I slept. Combined with the information from the new company - which I was able to contact via email (go figure! a tech company I can correspond with via email) - I remembered that there was a workaround on this website a few years ago when the original domain company made a change in their process.

Armed with the while-I-slept insight and the new company information, I found some articles online and I was able to repair this website and get it up and running.

So what does this have to do with writing? Well, authors are expected to have websites and this is the one I have right now. We often have to depend on others for hosting and domains and design and so on. But it can also be useful to have some basic knowledge to be able to do it ourselves. And enough knowledge to know when we can't and we need the help of people more knowledgeable.

It also has to do with selling books, because until today, this was the only place my book was available for sale. Unless we happened to be in the same place at the same time, and I happened to have some books with me (which I almost always do - just in case).

As of today, my book, Pickle Blanket Chronicles: A Flash Mixtape, is also available at Literary Kitchen online. Thank you to Ariel Gore and the Lit Kit Collective, my book can be purchased through that website, too.

Website up and running again? Check.
Book available for sale? Check.

Other current happenings:
- the POC interpreter performance interpreting workshop is going well. We had our last in-person all group meeting last week. I am currently working with two participants on one show and one participant on a different show. We will begin the process of the final project in a few weeks (a group of them will interpret "Crowns," with additional mentoring from an experienced POC performance interpreter and theatre person).
- I am in a Write Now workshop/collab with Lidia Yuknavitch and Domi Shoemaker; we are in the final week right now. This is a process created by Lidia this time around, called Narrative Palimpsest and I love it. It is a wonderful group of writers and we are creating new writing with this new process. I can't wait to see how they develop and grow.
- I am still editing the memoir. I believe I am nearing the end of the hand edits - then the giant task of getting all of that into the computer (along with the inevitable edits and rewrites which will result from that process).
- I am signed up as a participant in an author reading during the AWP conference, in an offsite event. I am nervous (always) and excited. I don't know what I will read, yet - but I have plenty of time to decide.
- and more. But that's enough for now.

Thank you for reading.

If you're curious what's happening in my performance interpreting world, here is one resource where I post upcoming shows and information related to those plays. I also sometimes post information for other interpreted or signed performances, as well: Performing Arts Interpreting Alliance Facebook page.

If you are looking for a new domain company, check out Porkbun!


Friday, January 4, 2019

A New Year Without Resolutions

Yes, it is a new year : 2019.

Seasonal/solstice dinner with friends.
A night of good food, laughter,
drinks, and game-playing.
Nope, I did not set any New Year resolutions. Nope, I won't.

I do have a few things I'm working on in my life, like not getting triggered by aggressive personalities (had a "learning opportunity" setback on that one recently), and making choices based from my inside to looking out rather than the other way around. There are some other shifts in my writing, my writing practice and writing goals and inspiration.

But these are changes based on personal development, focus, and over time.

I am totally fine with not setting New Year's resolutions which have a high chance of failure. Instead, I have steady development and growth in areas which are already showing results and improving quality of life. I understand people who like to set goals and have a traceable starting point and maybe a community of newness and hope in starting to develop new habits with the incoming new year. It's just not for me.

My writing has moved to a new level and this feels like a permanent shift; one which may stick around this time. This week I made some major edits on the long-running book project and I can see that light at the end of this particular tunnel (handwritten edits); there is a long and tedious tunnel right after this where the edits go into the computer document (which I am confident will result in more edits). Giant strides forward happened this week and I have just another inch or inch and a half of printed pages to go. It has seemed very daunting, looking at hundreds and hundreds of printed pages, going over every word, and multiple times, for content and style edits, with an aim of consistency and congruency.

I also had a breakthrough this week in structure; I have an idea of how I can weave some sections together and perhaps spackle in a few gaps in the timeline in a way that will work.

It is exciting and not overwhelming.

It is also 2019 and this one really did come on fast. Another saying I've grown tired of and rolled my eyes at ("time has flown" or "I can't believe it's already _____") which is Now Actually True. Year 2018 feels like a blink.

Whatever your personal perspective on to resolution or not resolution, I hope that your holiday season brought you some peace and joy and that the New Year was ushered in with ease and friendly companionship (or whatever brings you contentment).




Monday, December 17, 2018

Just Released: "Pickle Blanket Chronicles: A Flash Mixtape"

Announcing the release of my chapbook, "Pickle Blanket Chronicles: A Flash Mixtape."


This is one reason my writing here has been a little slow. I was in a fun and informative, fast-paced chapbook creation online class with Ariel Gore. While I was interpreting plays and my regular video relay work, attending a work conference, and doing NaNoWriMo.


And I was making this book. It is a compilation of some flash fiction plus a couple of poems. There are some black and white photos, also taken by me.


A brief aside, since several people have already asked me. Flash fiction—what's that? If you do an online search or look in writing magazines, you will find different lengths and more subcategories, but "flash fiction" is basically a story that is under 1,000 words. Some people say under 1,500 words. Some others define it as under 750 words. There are stories which are even shorter than that, some of which have been variously given other names—such as ultra fiction (usually fewer than 500 words), or micro fiction (this could be 50 - 100 words), and there are even more names and word length specifications. There is the revolving popular six word stories and the six sentence stories.


Aside from the opening and closing poems, the stories in my chapbook are between 500 to 1500 words. Thus the "flash" in the title, plus the idea of a "mixtape," which was a compilation of songs in the days of cassette tapes. Mixtapes tended to be favorite songs, which were often shared with friends.


So this book is a mixtape of different styles and of my writing—fiction, dystopian fiction, creative nonfiction—wrapped up in an easily portable 64 pages, 5 1/2 x 5 1/2 inch chapbook. Like a sampler pack of chocolates.


The chapbook is available on my "BOOKS by Dot" page (link below the banner above). There is a PayPal BUY NOW link below the photo.


I present to you the front cover of my chapbook:



Monday, November 26, 2018

NaNoWriMo 2018 report

It's official: I'm a 2018 NaNoWriMo Winner!

I wrote after work for a while and surpassed the goal. I wrote a bit more when I woke up today. Then I verified my word count and, yes, I am officially a 2018 NaNoWriMo winner with 54,392 words!

Yay!

There is one particular story I worked on that I will continue developing. Several of the other short story pieces will probably be wrapped in to this other story, too. I realized several short story starts and pieces in, that I wasn't really writing a bunch of disconnected stories, they were mostly like from a larger novel. Or maybe just a book of connected short stories. That remains to be seen.

But, for now, I get to celebrate that I complete NaNoWriMo 2018 and I'm glad I hung in there. This was not an easy year in terms of writing and, next year, I will plan differently. I'm still thrilled that I went ahead with it and that I finished. I almost quit more than once.

Due to my persistence and not giving up, I now have a good start on another dystopian story and some other bits to chew on and see what they become.

This marks my eleventh consecutive NaNoWriMo win!


Saturday, November 24, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11 - Day 24

I have been able to get caught up and my current word count is 42,348. The goal for today is 40,000, so I am a little ahead. I hope to get in at least another couple thousand words today and get this wrapped up before the very last day. Because this week starts the seasonal theatre interpreting preparation and, while it is going to be a lot of fun, it is also a lot of work.

Oh, and I am going to be doing the final wrap on my chapbook and creating a distribution plan. The distribution plan is due December 2nd. So I'm wrapping up NaNoWriMo, beginning the seasonal show prep, and getting my chapbook done, to the printer and making notes for how to get it out into the world.

All while doing my regular interpreting work.

This is my creative life and I have no complaints.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11: Day, Um, 21 (part one)

I just passed the halfway point in my NaNoWriMo 2018.


My winner shirt was just shipped, so I have to keep going. Right?


I will do it. I will pass 50,000 words this month. I have some bigger blocks of time and some theatre-free time over the next week. (There are some other work and family commitments, too.)


I will do it.


A story has taken hold and I am writing pieces toward that. My first character was bored and getting boring. But the newest one - she's a dynamo and I am looking forward to getting to know her better.


My chapbook is coming along really well. We are heading toward printing and I am really excited. I can't wait to see it in person.


NaNo is chugging along and I hope to maybe get caught up on Saturday. That might be a little optimistic, but I'm going to give it a try.

Tuesday, November 13, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11 Day 13

This NaNoWriMo is a struggle. As I've already written, the start was rocky and not my usual happy, let's kick it off at midnight with a room full of other writers. I was with a good friend, we wrote at midnight. I was also significantly short on sleep and at a work conference and a little overwhelmed before the month even began.

These are not excuses. These are facts from my life. Or I should say, they are factors in my life right now.

I still am not giving up on passing the 50k word line before the end of the month. And it is going to be a struggle. It is being a struggle. This will be my eleventh consecutive year of writing 50k+ words in the month of November and I'm not going to fail. I could decide to not do it, to stop, to let myself be okay with not completing it this year. I do know this is my decision and I can decide to say no. But I have decided to not do that.

I will continue.

And the light on the horizon has come closer and it is actually just around the corner, I believe. Today marks the end of a very long run of work, conference, work, theater, work. I do have appointments and some theatre related work in the next few days, but I also have some time available to write; more time than I've had since the beginning of the month.

Oh - and I am in the chapbook writing and printing class. Which is awesome. I am so inspired by Ariel and the other writers in the online class. We are making these amazing books, which are going to be out in the world very soon. Mine is not what I was envisioning when I signed up, but I am loving it. Loving the process. I am inspired by Ariel's instruction and guidance and feedback. I am inspired by the other writers beautiful words, sharing our projects as we work through the learning process, give each other feedback, share our ups and downs.

I will say that the chapbook class is one thing which is keeping me going, despite it being another thing I have to do.

So, there we are, I am writing. I am creating. My dystopian novel has become a series of dystopian short stories. And some of those short stories are short story beginnings. Some of them are leading nowhere and I'm letting that be okay, too. I am writing something every day, except for the one day of road trip from the conference back to home (it was a thirteen hours trek from there to here). I have only made the target word count twice this month. Which means, at this point, the NaNoWriMo word count system is telling me that I need to write 2130 words each day in order to meet the 50k before midnight on November 30th, instead of the normal average of 1667 words per day. That seems do-able. It is not an insurmountable number.

I can and will do this.

My current word count is 12902.  To be on target, I should have 21666 words written by the end of the day. That is not going to happen and it's okay.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

NaNoWriMo #11: Day 6

This NaNovember is getting off to my slowest start ever in my history of doing NaNoWriMo.

It is day #6 and, if I was on track, I should have written 10,000 words by now. Normally, my first week of NaNo is one of my strongest. Not this year. Right now my word count is sitting at 4,902; not even half of where I should be.

I'm not giving up, yet. I have considered calling it a wash. My first ever NaNo fail. But I've decided to keep going and see what happens.

Trying to give myself a break because I was out of state at a conference when it started. In a different time zone. On just over half the amount of sleep I usually get. With about 12 hours per day spent at conference events.

Not excuses; reasons.

I also missed (of course) the midnight write-in, which is usually a big boost for me. I missed one entire day due to driving back from the conference (my decision; we could have flown, but I wanted to drive).

I'm feeling a little disconnected from my NaNo writing right now. Which may also partially be due to it being politics season. I'm also writing dystopian fiction, so there is a certain amount of disconnect in the stories themselves.

And I've worked every day since returning from the conference. I know I'll feel better when I have a longer block of time to just let words flow. Right now I'm managing at least some writing every day, except for the day of travel. It hasn't been easy squeezing out any writing, but I"m doing it.

I'll keep at it and will, hopefully, get some long stretches where I can just focus on writing.

Not giving up, yet!