Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Saturday, December 28, 2013


I've been working on the M- book for a few years. Which is the way of some books, I hear; some take longer to write than others. The truth is that this book didn't start as a book and I was against writing a memoir. I thought it was silly for someone who wasn't famous or hadn't done anything of significance to write a memoir. There had to be a reason to write the book and a bigger reason for someone to be willing to read the book.

I didn't qualify.

Then I started reading memoirs. I met memoirists who were young, who were "ordinary" in that they weren't famous. They had stories to tell and told them well and people listened and read them. And I listened - to my writing mentors and other authors and to myself. The stories started coming and I started writing them down. Sometimes the stories didn't come easily and sometimes they were rough and not ready for others to read. But, over time, the stories started coming together and I accepted that there was, just maybe, a memoir in all of those words.

I discovered that I was writing a memoir. Or an M-book as I call it. I'm not sure why I still balk at "memoir" but I do. I pull back from more writing; I get blocked; there are still gaps in the overall story; I write new pieces; I think I have something important to say and then I think I'm full of shit; I find a new angle or a significant new piece of information; I wonder if I'm writing it just for me or if anyone will be interested. Right now I'm hovering on the line of this book being for my personal healing/self-expression and that there is something in it worth sharing with others. I sometimes think the goal is just to write it and then see what to do with it. I have considered turning it into a novel.

In November I finished a very rough draft of a novel and I like it - NaNoWriMo Novel #6. It obviously needs much revision and rewriting and some parts need a lot of work. But it's worth working on and I want to do that.

For the past couple of months I've been writing poetry, as well. I took an online poetry writing workshop/"playshop" with Daphne Gottlieb and that sparked more poetry. And the poetry sparked some prose. Which sparked some poetry. And so it goes.

I've also been wanting to write a script. I spend time with theater and scripts and I've had ideas popping into my head about writing my own script. I've written a few short skits and have thought, off and on, about writing a full length play; or at least a one-act play.

I met with one of my writing friends on Friday and we talked about writing. Along with other things, but we spent a lot of time talking about writing. He suggested I write a script - a radio script. I think I will. It has a timeline. Yes, a short script will be one of my writing projects.

That same friend, several years ago, was the person who introduced me to idea of having three writing projects in process at a time. The topic came up again today and I realized that a script is the missing writing piece.

Recently I've had several writing project ideas and I'm taking notes. I won't run out of things to write for a while. It feels good to have my creativity flowing.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Sign Mudras - Two Free Performances

I will send reminders and updates as the performances approach; consider this a "save the date" notice.

Jayanthi Raman is working on a project combining East Indian dance, traditional Indian mythology, modern mythology, and American Sign Language. There will be two free performances in March 2014. The space is limited and Jayanthi Raman Dance Company performances are always well attended so you will want to plan on arriving early to get a seat.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

"Toby's Christmas Miracle"

This is a cute short film by Sven Bonnichsen from 2009. I've watched it every year since he frist posted it and it still makes me smile.

Merry Christmas Eve!



Saturday, December 21, 2013

Happy Winter Solstice

Friday night we had a nice writing group. A couple of people shared their writing and we gave feedback. We talked and caught up a bit (it's been a couple of weeks since our last meeting). And I did get some writing done.

Thank you, Friday night writers!

Today, Saturday 12/21/13, is the Winter Solstice. There are many videos across the Internet, and here is one example:

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Moe Bowstern at Back Fence PDX

Moe Bowstern is teaching a class in the Literary Kitchen in a few months. I am planning to sign up for the class if it looks possible. The class starts at a busy performance interpreting time, but that hasn't stopped me from writing in the past.

So I thought I'd find a video of Moe performing to share. For the joy of watching her and as inspiration and reminder to myself of why I want to take the class from her.

I was happy to discover this video from 2011 of her storytelling at Back Fence PDX. (If you didn't see my posts from last week and the week before, I was at Back Fence PDX's 5.5 Anniversary storytelling event at The Armory. It was awesome.)

Without any more words from me, here is Moe Bowstern in 2011, at Back Fence PDX.

Moe Bowstern at Back Fence PDX from Back Fence PDX on Vimeo.

Back Fence PDX is a live storytelling series in Portland, OR.
Filmed live at the Mission Theater.May 26, 2011
Theme: Hot As Shit or Misfit?
For more information on our live show, visit backfencepdx.com.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

December 14 is Monkey Day

While looking up a different topic I was planning to write about, I came across a heading that December 14th is Monkey Day. Distracted from the other topic, which I will save for another day, I decided to find a video about monkeys writing. Which led to this idea and that idea and then I remembered the snow monkeys in one of the movies by Godfrey Reggio with music by Philip Glass.

If you've followed my blog for very long, you will know that I am a big fan of Philip Glass. 

I started looking for the snow monkeys and couldn't remember which movie they were in. But it didn't matter. I found the video below, with meditative music, and snow monkeys in a hot spring in Japan.

It would have been clever to find monkeys writing, but I didn't find any videos I liked. And I do like this video. It is calming. Today I needed calming. So I thought I'd share the snow monkeys on monkey day.


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"This" - poem and photograph


Breath water air
salt sea salt

Humans cannot reproduce this vision
even a photograph doesn't capture
the intense light through water soaked clouds
reflections ricochet on molecules
above and below and surround
waves running over each other to reach
the sand birds approach and retreat
sky darkens light breaks through.
Beginnings and endings.

cold and wet.


poem and photo by Dot Hearn 
Twin Rocks, November 2013

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Creative NonFiction? Yes, Please


A friend and I have had discussions about the term "creative nonfiction." He asserts that all nonfiction is fiction and all fiction is nonfiction. He doesn't like the term, "creative nonfiction." That's his opinion and he's sticking to it - and I say that with a smile. It is one where we disagree, though I also wondered about it for a while, as well. It isn't that I disagree with my friend in terms of nonfiction and fiction overlapping, but I believe there is a place for this term. And I'm sticking to my opinion.

But as I'm returning to the M-book, I'm finding - again - that I love this term. Especially right now, when I need to write an important scene in the book but I am coming up blank.

Let me back up.  I will start with : What is "creative nonfiction?"

There are many books written on this subject - what it is, how to write it, books of it. There are pages and pages of websites. Many colleges offer creative nonfiction courses and their own interpretation of that label. Here is one example from UVM Tutor Tips:
Creative nonfiction merges the boundaries between literary art (fiction, poetry) and research nonfiction (statistical, fact-filled, run of the mill journalism). It is writing composed of the real, or of facts, that employs the same literary devices as fiction such as setting, voice/tone, character development, etc. This makes if [sic]different (more “creative”) than standard nonfiction writing.
Here is a another definition from Creative Nonfiction Magazine:
The words “creative” and “nonfiction” describe the form. The word “creative” refers to the use of literary craft, the techniques fiction writers, playwrights, and poets employ to present nonfiction—factually accurate prose about real people and events—in a compelling, vivid, dramatic manner. The goal is to make nonfiction stories read like fiction so that your readers are as enthralled by fact as they are by fantasy.
These two definitions are not really in contrast with each other, but they do have a different tone. And that, I
say, is one of the beauties of "creative nonfiction." "Creative nonfiction" can encompass a more straightforward travelogue and a personal travel memoir and an experiential poem.

And it gives some flexibility to fill in the blanks.

Like right now.

I don't remember this particular first date. I should, I know; but I don't. And that missing piece is one thing which comes up repeatedly in feedback on the M-book, comments asking where the scene is showing the first date. To help show the progression of the relationship.

But. I. Don't. Remember.

So that part will be a piece of creative nonfiction. A memoir generally does fall into the category of creative nonfiction, in my opinion, and some would say that some memoirists hide behind that label rather than telling the truth. Or that stories are deliberately slanted or exaggerated to cover up or twist the truth. For me, such as with the "first date" scene, if it stays in the book, it means I had to take what I know to be truth without a doubt, put it together with other examples of similar incidents and try to capture the sense of that first date with what might have been, within the context of the time and what is known.

It means I have to go to my body to remember what it was like and build the story from what I know to be true. Creative fiction and nonfiction put together to make a whole story.

Is it true? Yes. Is it fiction? Yes. Is it based on actual facts and experiences? Yes. Is it a good story? That is what I'm working to make true.

For this scene, I have to begin with a freewrite. Which will be followed with revision and rewrite. And, perhaps, in the freewrite, the memory will be triggered so that the percentage of facts is higher than the percentage of fiction by the time I get to the rewrites.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Continuing the Practice of Writing

One benefit of NaNoWriMo is strengthening my writing practice. Some years it is almost like starting over; sometimes, like this year, it is increasing the frequency and making a writing habit stronger.

So that is what I'm doing. And other things are already creeping in, other commitments, projects. But I am determined to not lose my writing practice, while being fair to other things requiring my attention. So I will need to proceed at a different pace.

I do have my Tuesday morning writing meeting tomorrow morning. And I have my Friday night writing group. In between I will divide writing time between editing (completing the M-book first, I guess; then one of the novels; submissions; writing new material). And I still have another two weeks in the online poetry workshop, which I am enjoying. I considered signing up for the next round in the Literary Kitchen, but with my upcoming show schedule in early 2014, I don't think it would be a good idea. Maybe the next one!

This week the Theatrical Interpreting Preparation Series workshop starts again and that will continue until March 2014. I am also preparing to interpret "Twist Your Dickens" at PCS on Thursday, December 12th. I am also interpreting the Back Fence PDX Anniversary Storytelling event on Monday, December 9th.

I still like the story of the novel I wrote and I am excited to have that project to return to, later. After it rests. That is a good sign.

In the meantime, editing, revising, and looking for appropriate places to submit several stories which need homes. I need to spend some time on Duotrope and at Poets & Writers.


Saturday, November 30, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 30: Another Closing

In ten minutes, NaNoWriMo 2013 comes to an end here in the Pacific Northwest. It has already ended in other places around the globe, but there are ten more minutes for authors in this region; Hawaii has even more time.

I let today go without adding a word to my NaNoNovel. I am making the final revisions to my poem for the online poetry workshop in the Literary Kitchen, but I will leave it outside of the novel.

I am proud of my accomplishment. Of both reaching 50k words and the end of the story.

Thank you, to the Municipal Liaisons who set up the write-ins and the kick-off party and the midnight write-in, to everyone at headquarters for another NaNovember!

The End.

Friday, November 29, 2013

NaNovember 29: A Little More


Yesterday I finished the story in my NaNoWriMo novel. Then, just after midnight, I wrote a little more.

And I wrote "The End."

Tomorrow is the official final day of NaNoWriMo. And I just might squeeze out a few more words on the novel. We'll see. Or maybe I'll let my NaNoCalendar widget just take the dark red day (for nothing written) on the last day of the month.

Although I do have a poem due tomorrow. So the poet in my novel may just have to write one more for he chapbook. We'll see.

This was a good writing month. I like the story and, with heavy editing, it could actually become a book. I think. I have handed the story off to my first beta reader, with her annual instructions that it is raw, there are typos, there mostly likely are conflicting pieces of information here and there, and other things which would have to be fixed before moving forward. Oh, and some places the story needs serious editing. But her job at this point is to see if there is a story deserving of further development.

This is probably my last NaNoWriMo 2013 post. Unless I find one more thing to say between now and midnight tomorrow.

Good luck to my fellow NaNoTravelers who are still writing their ways to 50,000. Go, authors! I have faith in you. You can do this!


Thursday, November 28, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 28: Giving Thanks and The End


We spent time with family today. A family to which I have no blood or legal connection. But I do have connection of the heart. The head of this family, my partner's step-father, has been in my life for over thirty years, as have his adult children (my partner's step-siblings). There were other extended family members from others' second marriages and, well, it's complicated and I would have to draw you a chart to show the connections, as loose and fluid as it is. The family who have been around for these thirty years, I only see once or twice a year and it was good to see them. I am thankful to have these people in my life and to call them family. And I'm thankful for all of the good things in our lives. It is not perfect, there are some hard things, but overall, life is good.

Also, with two days left in NaNovember, I have completed the story. Yesterday I passed the 50,000 word mark and today I completed the plot. The book needs much editing, some plot points need changing, moving, expanding, enhancing, but the story is there from beginning to end.

The rule is to let it rest. I think of it like making bread: it has to rest and rise and then it's ready to be punched down and kneaded and let to rise again. Yes. It must rest and then it can be manipulated and shaped. But it must rise and "rise" for me and the novel is that I have to forget some of the little things, come back to it fresh, and renew my energy for the project. Then dive in, look at it fresh, and clean it up.

I like the story. Still. This is good.

This was my sixth consecutive NaNoWriMo win:

NaNoWriMo 2013: "The Center of the Universe
NaNoWriMo 2012: "Forty-nine Days of Bardo"
NaNoWriMo 2011: "Following Instinct: of Shadows and Edges"
NaNoWriMo 2010: "There Was This Garden"
NaNoWriMo 2009: "Cascade Lakes Footnotes" 
NaNoWriMo 2008: "Open Boxes"

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 27: I'm A Winner!

The story isn't yet done, but I have surpassed the goal of writing 50,000 words in November. Now, back to writing the story.


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 26: New Goal? Finish Tomorrow

My word count at the end of today is

I wrote nearly 3500 words today and it felt great. I made a lot of progress on the story; and there is much to write. But in terms of NaNoWriMo, I am 2550 words from the 50,000 word goal. Soon. Very soon.

Tonight we had date night and went to see "Blue Jasmine" at The Academy. Afterward, I went to the store to buy the ingredients to try the recipe I want to make for Thanksgiving. I've never made it and thought it would be good for us to test it on ourselves rather than our multi-faceted family gathering. I hear it beeping in the oven as I type; so I will keep this short.

My new goal is that I will past 50k tomorrow. I will reach the NaNoWriMo goal and I will keep typing. I do want to finish this story. Then I will let it rest when the story is done and come back in a few months to begin the editing process, which will be extensive. And in the meantime, between the end of the first draft of this novel and the first revision of this novel, I will return to - and hopefully finish - the memoir; again.

Monday, November 25, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 25: Back to the Mystery


The goal is clearly in sight now. Yes, I am going to make 50,000 words before midnight on November 30th.

Right now my total word count is 44,101. Only 5,899 words to


I left the beach retreat behind, still without much more information (for me, as the author) about the play. Argh! But the novel called me back to earlier in the book, where I was writing yesterday, so there I am. Or was. We'll see where they lead me tomorrow. I think I will be wrapping up the investigation of the rehearsal theater and the disappearing actor. The director has been taken to the hospital (OHSU) with non-life threatening injuries.

I think tomorrow we'll wrap up the investigation. Get a lead on the disappeared actor. Then I suspect we'll move on back over to the coast and pick up with the retreat. Find out what is up with this play!

Oh, and there was a hint that maybe there is a connection with the replacement actor and the disappeared actor.

I also think I know more about the dead body in the opening scene. But I'm not telling. Not yet.


I can do this. I am nearly there.


Sunday, November 24, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 24: Backing Up


I am talking about backing up in terms of saving the novel (in multiple formats and in multiple places) and backing up as in time.

Today I found myself jumping back to the scene where the director was attacked and then one of the actors went missing. Yes, that was a very passive statement about the actor - but that's all I can say at this point. Right now the paramedics have arrived, they are checking out the director who has passed out, and there is still the question of the bloody hammer upstairs. The police are dealing with the hammer and the fainting actor; the firemen have just opened up access to the basement green room so the EMTs can get the director out.

That's where things are in the novel

And my word count as of right now - and I doubt I'll get more in tonight as this is my last break of the shift - is 41540. That's a good number of words and I'm closing in quickly on the goal. I'm still on track to finish up on November 29th, which I would love to do. I hate the pressure of waiting until the last minute. But, if I need it, I do have time to cram on Saturday. With a big writing day on Tuesday, I don't think I'll need Saturday.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 23: Another Milestone Passed

The NaNoNovel is still progressing. The words are flowing despite the rest of life continuing to, well continue. Work, time with family, tickets purchased last summer for a performance tonight.

And, still, I met the daily word count today. I wrote 1683 words today and passed the 40,000 total word count mark. My total words are 40,896 (the goal for midnight tomorrow is 40k, so I am still ahead of the benchmark).

We're still mucking around in the play, digging out what it is or isn't. The playwright is leading an exercise at the retreat. And there will be a few scenes run on the beach the next day. Right now, the scene I'm writing, they drank Prosecco, did a word association exercise, and are giving the playwright feedback.

I think we're also getting close to discovering more information about the actor who disappeared when the lights went out and the director was attacked. No details are currently available; but I feel it coming.

This project is still enjoyable and I will finish it. I like it. It has potential. Yes, it will need major revisions and clean up, but I think it is a viable novel.

Yay for me.


Friday, November 22, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 22: Dinner Gathering

photo by my Tuesday writing partner, Rooze.
Today I wrote 1821 words and my ending total count is 39213.

It may be hard to wrap up this story in 11000 more words and that's okay. I see the goal in sight; I will make the 50000 word goal. It may be November 29th when I finish, or perhaps the 30th. I have a long writing day lined up next Tuesday, a few extra hours tomorrow and next Wednesday. Other than that, I will be writing with my usual time - around work and sleep hours. Then, just in case, I have Saturday 11/30 wide open for writing; unless I need to add another viewing of the play I'll be interpreting in a couple of weeks.

I do plan on continuing this story until it's done. I like it. There are some NaNoErrors, I know. Some conflicting facts. Some lousy writing. Maybe a few gems. And some likable characters. I like the basic story and I think it's worth finishing and then revising. So far, at least!

The cast, director and her partner, the playwright, and a couple of tech crew guys are just sitting down to dinner at the coastal retreat. I believe that after dinner there will be a discussion about the script and we might find out a few more details. I mean I might be told a few more details. Right now I know very little about the play they've been working on, other than that it does includes some dance, has something to do with energy and movement, and a few other details.

It was a good writing day. Tomorrow will probably be a little less, due to work and then attending a performance tomorrow night.

Writing it going well. I'm satisfied with my story and writing right now. And that feels great.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 21: Word Count? Check My Widget

photo by Dot, Yachats OR
It's been a {pick one} _______________ [rough, tiring, long, cold-fighting, down] day.

I have not written a word on my NaNoNovel nor for the online poetry workshop. Not. One. Word.

I'm not feeling too great today. I had a long job - not too strenuous, but long, and no opportunity to write.

Now I'm home. Had a light dinner. And despite my earlier decision to let myself off the hook from writing today, given everything, and take a -0- words written for the day. But, no, again, I'm going to see what I can do in the time remaining today. I don't know what my word count will be at midnight, but it will be a few more than where it sits right now.

My total word count at midnight will be visible in the little blue calendar widget on the left.

Here I go. Write!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 20: the Playwright has Arrived


My ending word count today is 36,824! And the playwright was the stranger in the driveway. Perhaps now we'll find out what the rest of the play is about. As well as who the dead person is and what happened to the missing actor. 

Could there be a link?


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 19: Story on the Move

. . . current word count = 34,950 . . .

The playwright has arrived (I think; I haven't seen her yet but all indications are that it is her car which pulled up in the gravel driveway behind the house; the Stage Manager is checking on it now).

I had a great writing session with my Tuesday writing partner, Rooze, today. The Tuesday writing prompt was posted a little late (which was absolutely not a problem!) so I used all of the time on my NaNoNovel. I wrote a little over 1800 words this morning before work.

I stopped at a good place in the novel, because I'm on the brink of a new and exciting thing. So I want to return to writing. This is good.


Monday, November 18, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 18: And, We Have a Poet!

Finally, the poet in my NaNoNovel has been revealed. I thought it would never happen and that I'd have these poems hanging around with nowhere to go. But, it happened. The poet has shown himself. Now I can put in the poems somewhere appropriate. I think a couple of them were written by someone else to him, and that's okay. But at least he has made an appearance.

My total words written today (mostly before work, though I did squeeze some in on my dinner break tonight) is 2046. My total word count right now is 33,145! Woo!

As soon as they are done with the ice breakers, the characters will be having dinner. Some may go for a walk on the beach (that's my plan for them). And then, later at night but not too late, a surprise visitor will be showing up.

Unless she changes her plans. One of the characters who is already at the retreat house knows about it, but she has said nothing. It will be a good surprise. I think. We'll see what she has up her sleeve when she gets there.

In addition to giving the big reveal of the end of the play they've been working on.

But wait! What about the dead body discovered in the opening scene? We still don't know who it was. Or what happened. And what about the actor who disappeared. His replacement is the poet, so that was a good exchange from my author's vantage point. But those two things - a body, a disappearance - are only two of several dangling enticements which have yet to come to fruition. I think things are about to be exposed, though!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 17: Almost a Red Square Day


Today was almost a red square day in NaNoLand for me. But I pulled it together and finished up the cast retreat bonding ritual. They are all united, blessed by the Spirits, and are about to launch into the requisite for any ritual : the ice breaker activities!

Oh, no! Say it isn't so.

But it is. And I added a mere 205 words to my total count today

Which moved me from a Red Square Day (0 words written) to an Orange Square Day (minimal words written; and they were minimal! but more than zero).

It was a lovely writing retreat at the beach. Relaxing. Productive on many levels. Relaxing some more. Which was followed by driving home today, unloading my car, changing my clothes, and driving to work.

Which is why it was almost a Red Square Day. But I decided I couldn't let it happen; didn't want to break my daily streak even if it was minimal writing. So I wrote. Just a little. And the characters are ready to reveal ...

...are you ready...

The Poet!

- to be continued -

Saturday, November 16, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 16: Final Day of Writing Retreat

I still have a little bit of time left before the close of the day. But, since we are leaving early-ish morning and I have things to pack up, I probably won't get much more written tonight. If any.

As of right now, I have 30,765 words in my NaNoNovel. I have written 3180 words since I posted my numbers last night.

I have also written a poem today. And I had to rewrite a couple hundred words from the novel, since my computer ate it. This may be the thing which finally gets me to contact the manufacturer's tech support department to find out about the too sensitive keyboard. I've been dealing with it for awhile. It has been frustrating, but not as frustrating as contacting tech support can be. But now, after losing and having to redo valuable words, well, I may just have to call them.

This has been a great writing retreat and I'm so glad I've spent the time here, with a writing friend, focusing on writing. And watching the ocean. We haven't gotten onto the beach as much as we wanted due to some pretty strong storms. And when things weren't as stormy, the beach seemed to be covered by the high tide. It was hard to coordinate the shorter days, the weather, the writing. But we both made excellent progress on our novels and wrote some poetry.

Tomorrow I return home, to work, to other responsibilities. And that's okay. I am still a couple of days ahead on my word count and I will need it tomorrow and another day later this week.

Twin Rocks, you've been beautiful and inspiring and have provided nice distractions from staring at our screens.

Friday, November 15, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 15: Halfway

photo taken in Wanda's Cafe, Nehalem, by Dot.
Today marks half way through NaNoWriMo 2013. The target word count through midnight tonight is 25,000 words written. Right now I am at 27,581. I am quickly closing in on 3,000 words written for today and I think I'll make it.

Today we had a lovely brunch at Wanda's Cafe in Nehalem. It was delicious and worth the taking the time out to drive and have a good meal. We stopped at the Old Oregon Smokehouse on the way back to the house to check out their hours, for tomorrow. There was a store beside where we parked to check out the smokehouse hours which had my favorite sock brand in the window, SolMates.

And, guess what? I now have a new pair of SoleMates socks and a colorful SoleMates pair of fingerless gloves. It has been years since I've had patterned and colorful gloves. I used to do some regular interpreting where gloves where a good idea or required, so I've only had black thermal type gloves to protect my fingers and still be able to sign. But now, I have both. And I rarely interpret in situations where I need gloves any more. I'm excited to have something fun and colorful and frivolous; and I can use them with my touch screen Blackberry Q10, as well. Very fun.

It did get very stormy today, wind and rain, so we didn't make it down to the beach. I brought a coat and such for a light rain, but not what we had today. Will aim for a walking break on the beach tomorrow.

Okay, Back to writing and see how much more I can squeeze in today. Or I might switch over to working on my poem for submission for this week. Hm. Either way, I have more writing ahead of me.

It's been a good writing day on my NaNoWriMo 2013 writing retreat.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 14:Writing Retreat Day One

My friend, Deb, and I arrived at Rockaway Beach last night about 10 p.m. We'd hoped to arrive a little earlier, but it takes as long as it takes, right?

She had to work. I had an appointment. We had to stop at stores to buy food, make a restroom stop, buy coffee for the drive.

Oh, and there was fog. Very thick fog in a few places, so travel speed was slower than normal at those times.

But we arrived safely, well-stocked, and ready for our personal writing retreat to get ahead and catch up on our word counts. And to do the exercises and assignments for the online poetry class with Daphne Gottlieb. 

So, technically, this is our second day here, though I say that last night doesn't really count, expect as a sleep over. 

Despite not getting enough sleep last night - due to the creative excitement of getting caught up on my feedback in the poetry class, and a visit from my muse, who delivered an excellent poem for the fist exercise - it has been a good day. The people in the lower part of the house were up way too early for how late I went to bed. I did manage to get a couple more hours of sleep, but that still left me very short of rest and recuperation time. But that's okay.

We wrote some more. This morning there was another exercise in our online class, and my muse was nearby and delivered another poem to me from the prompt. I set myself a target word count before going down to the beach and I reached it.

Deb and I went onto the beach, took some beautiful pictures, felt the air, the sand, the water. And the droplets as it started to rain. We walked a little more and then, with the confirmation that the storm we'd been watching move across the ocean was coming in our direction, we reluctantly headed back to the house. It started raining seriously when we were a couple of houses away. And just after we were safely inside, the wind picked up and the rain picked up and everything became wet.

More writing. Contemplating what we wanted to do for dinner; which ended up being staying in and cooking or heating up from the stores we laid in. More writing.

And I'm probably stopping with NaNoWriting for tonight, because I am feeling tired. I think tonight I will go to bed at a reasonable hour and I think I will get a long night's sleep. 

It has been a good day and it has been successful in the amount of writing I've done.

Today I've written 1723 words to bring my NaNoNovel word count to 25, 093. I am just over halfway to the finish line! Although I know that this novel will require more than the 50k and I do want to finish the first draft of this story.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 12 : The Writing Retreat

I am wrapping up the day with just over 500 words written. I don't mind it being a low count day, as I am still over the cumulative target (21,667) with a cumulative word count of 23,091.

Today I packed a bunch of stuff. Then I swapped out a couple of things and repacked. Piled my laptop and my clothes bag and my hot tub/cuddle blanket/NaNoSweathirt/Tea bag and my writing books in anticipation of leaving for NaNoWriMo writing retreat 2013.

Went to an appointment.

Went home and waiting for my writing buddy to arrive.

She arrived. We packed my car. We made meal and snack stops at New Seasons and Trader Joe's and Starbucks for coffee on the road.

And here we are. Food put away. Bags unpacked. In our comfy clothes and the ocean welcoming us outside the open sliding glass doors, hot decaf in our cups. Laptops plugged in.

We are writing.

I'm done with my NaNoWriting for today and am moving on to the first poetry class exercise for this week. We will get the second exercise tomorrow morning and I'd like to get number one done before I get number two. I think that's a reasonable goal; don't you?

So, with that, I'll send this post into the world, along with a picture of our collection of writing books. Yes, we did discuss who was bringing what ahead of time, only so that we wouldn't end up doubles of a few books. Quite a lovely collection we have. We should be set if our muses don't show up now and then and the plot bunnies flee into the beach grass to munch.

Writing, ho!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Deaf Sound Artist - oh, and NaNoWriMo Day 12 Update


First the NaNoWriMo update: today I wrote 1923 words before work. This brings my NaNoNovel total word count to 22514. The blackout happened; there was a scream; a bloody hammer appeared on the stage floor; and the tech director has reappeared. Two actors went to the green room to check on the director and actor, who were having a serious discussion following an altercation with another actor.

NaNo : To Be Continued.

Thank you to an interpreter in Oslo who sent the video's link to me. The video is of sound artist Christine Sun Kim, who is Deaf. Don't worry; it is captioned for the signing impaired. And, yes, she is a sound artist and performance artist. I would love to see her in person some day. I think she'd be a natural fit for PICA's T:BA festival; that would be awesome.

Todd Selby x Christine Sun Kim on Nowness.com


Monday, November 11, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 11: Good Enough for Now


[image found at Stress Relief Solutions]

Today I did write. In between a meeting with a very nice interpreting student on the topic of theatrical interpreting and work I was able to write for a bit and added 1006 words to my daily count. I'm going to call it for today with a total word count of 20951. That's pretty good and I'll take it!

I'm at work now and, while I thought I'd add more words on breaks, that hasn't happened. And I'm okay with that. I am still ahead of the goal for today. And I have some major writing time coming up, so I'm not worried.

Tomorrow my Tuesday writing partner is unable to meet. But I am committed to being there, anyway, and I will take the opportunity to write for the entire time. That will get me caught up for the lower word count the last two days and get my word bank back up to a comfortable level.

Then I have time to write on Wednesday. And Thursday to Saturday are completely dedicated to writing, both on my NaNoNovel and for the online poetry class. Which reminds me, the other thing I need to use my breaks for tonight are to finish posting my feedback to other writers in the Literary Kitchen. And that is the one other thing I will do during my writing time tomorrow morning is - write poetry! We get new prompts on Tuesday and Thursdays and then we post a more polished poem on the weekend. So far, so good; I like it.

Oh, I almost forgot. There is a new development in the NaNoNovel. It hasn't quite happened yet, but it is on the brink. There have been some gluten free pastries - savory and sweet - and coffee brought in, there has been an altercation and a secret hinted at. And, soo, there will be sudden darkness. I have some ideas about what will happen, but the characters haven't yet revealed their plan.

Something is about to happen, for sure, though!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 10 : Whew


This report is brief.

As was my writing today.

I hit 50% of the average target to hit 50k by November 30th. Hey, it's better than zero, right?

Today I wrote 835 words. I am still ahead of the cumulative target for today. Ending the day with 19585 words.


Saturday, November 9, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 9: Words Hard Won

This was not an easy writing today. Up until now, the novel has flowed - for the most part. The scenes have come easily - most of the time. The characters show up and interact - most days.

But today, on the NaNoWriMo writing marathon day? No, writing was not easy. That's okay; I know that is a part of the process. I have also done NaNoWriMo enough to know that week two is a hard one. The exhilaration of another NaNovember and a new novel are wearing off (perhaps; for some authors). The story has taken twists and turns, not as expected. For a myriad of reasons, week two the writing starts to slow and the momentum can be harder to keep up with.

And that's what happened today.

I set everything up. Ready to write. Ready for the muse and a day of fantastic writing and lots of words. And.

I did make a little over the daily average to reach 50k. But it took a many hours. It required taking a break to finish loading the dishwasher and running it. It required doing a load of laundry from beginning to end. It required the snacks and good food I bought as incentive and as reward. It required henna-ing my hair (which, it really was time, and this was my last opportunity until about the 20th).

But I did it. I wrote just under 1800 words today and am closing the laptop with 18750; still ahead of schedule.

I also finished up and posted a poem in the Literary Kitchen poetry class I'm taking from Daphne Gottlieb.

It was, overall, a good writing day. I will even admit to it being productive. Just a little less productive than I had hoped.

But a good writing day. And I still have my word bank intact.

I also have enough time left for a little more Wii.


Friday, November 8, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 8: Slow Going but Word Count Met

I'm stocked up with good food for the writing marathon tomorrow.

I met with my Friday night writing group and, although I didn't generate many words during that time, we did some writing. And some talking. And it was good to connect with other writers.

I came home, and wrote some more. And now I'm headed to a float!

I'm ending day eight with 1683 words written and a total word count of 16,827.

Oh, and there has been blood and a piece of human flesh found in the theater's bathroom.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 7: Going Old School *grin*


This has been a very long work day. Two work sites. Which is good in terms of the finances - especially with the 13.5% property tax increase which is due next week. But it was not so good in terms of writing time.

I did manage to get in the minimum amount of Wii exercise before I showered and got ready for work.

Which was followed by work number one.

Which was followed by work number two.

Did I write? Yes I did. In breaks, by hand. Shock and awe - yes, I wrote by hand.

But don't be too much in awe. There are some authors who are doing their entire NaNoNovels by hand. I've seen them. They're very crafty. Last year my friend and I went to the statewide write-in in Salem and there were several people writing by hand. A couple of them even won some word wars. You know, the facilitator starts the timer and we all write like crazy, as fast as we can for the specified amount of time, which is usually ten minutes. And twice it was won by people writing by hand.

Today I wasn't fast writing by hand but it was all I had. So I did.

Plus a few words written between the two jobs.

I didn't hit the daily average benchmark today; but I did break 1000 words.

My ending word count for day seven is 15144. Yay for me! On Saturday the total word count goal is 15,000 words, so I still have my two-day cushion even though I missed the mark for today.


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

update: NaNoWriMo Day 6

More writing time now has my daily total words written at 3140. And my updated total word count is 14095. I am stopping for the night. I need a break, to stretch, to do a little walking before work.

As a point of reference: the total word count goal for today is 10,000. Which means that I have a bank of 4095 words! Whew. 

The story is still moving along. Yes, I have a few too many details and things will need to be edited out, but it is moving. 

Oh, and so far I am still using contractions and numbering conventions. Which means so far, no word padding - just writing.

NaNoWriMo Day 6: I Like Writing

I had another successful writing session today.

Right after a personal appointment where I talked about some recent changes, and identified this as a transition time - a positive transition. I also renewed a commitment to continue with my daily Heart Connection practice for another year. Doubling the time of what I've done so far. Renewal. That's a good word.

So I had a lovely vegan salad at Sweet Pea Bakery, along with a decaf hazelnut latte, and I wrote. And wrote some more. And I kept writing.

Today I wrote 2063 words and my new total is 13018. But wait! I'm not done yet. I have a short shift of work tonight which starts at 9pm. So I'm heading out to a place near the work site and, guess what. I will write some more.

It's time for a new scene and Sweet Pea employees are starting the shut down, closing time clean up - so I'm going to get out of their way and head to my next destination. I anticipate writing more. But in case I don't, in case I get lost in posting in the Lit Kitchen poetry playshop or catching up on Facebook posts or Twitter tweets, this is what I have for today.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 5: The Writing Machine

Today was a very productive writing day. Even with working a long shift, I managed to exceed the NaNoWriMo daily average and expand my word cushion a little more.

Here are my accomplishments today:
- I wrote 2045 words on "The Center of the Universe," my NaNoNovel;
- I wrote a poem about cheese and posted it in the online poetry workshop;
- I worked on a professional article (to, hopefully, be printed at the same time as the release of the related standard practice paper);
- and I arrived at work on time.

Yes, I did all of that before going to work. And I did a 30 minute workout before work.

Today the director finally showed up at the auditions. One of the actors crossed a personal boundary with the stage manager. And the actual auditions have begun.

My ending word count today was a whopping 10,955. I felt so good when I headed to work. It was a great writing session with my Tuesday writing buddy; a great writing day.

Monday, November 4, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day 4 : Word Count Success

Today I made the daily average word count. It was a little touch a go, since I woke up with a sore throat and stuffed sinuses. And felt like I just wanted to stay in bed.

But aside from needing to get to work, I also needed to maintain my daily exercise and to write. There wasn't quite enough time, but I made it!

I decided to write the audition scene today, as that is something I know well. It doesn't require research for me and, since I have the character sketches, that helped the dialogue flow, as well. I didn't have to think too hard about who was there or wonder about the process, since I have been a part of many theatrical auditions. Which meant I was able to write on breaks, sip soup at dinner and write - and I believe what I wrote still makes sense.

So, I am happy to report that I wrote a little over the daily average for today. I ended my NaNoWriting with a total of 8913 words.

Tomorrow I will get the first poetry prompt for the online class. I will have no problem knowing what to write in my Tuesday midday writing meeting.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day Three: First Work Day of NaNo13

So it's happened. I didn't reach the word count goal for today. It's okay and I'm not upset about it. I had hoped I would go a little longer before falling behind - but this is exactly why I try to get ahead on no work days, on short work days.

I am back to daily exercise - and that is great. So now with daily exercise and adding in daily writing, I have to be even more watchful of my time. It will all work out and be fine. It will take a bit to get this all in balance. And I will.

Oh, and the poetry workshop started today. We won't get the first prompt until Tuesday, then I'll be writing that, as well. And another one Thursday. And then post a polished poem on Saturday.

I can do this.

And who knows, I may be able to scratch out a few more words on my breaks before midnight. Right?

So far in the NaNoNovel : we have been in the theater where the play will take place. We have met the stage manager and the tech director. In another scene we met the director and her artist/reiki/energy healer partner and their dog. A body was found and the police have been called. And right now I'm writing the audition scene.

A Scrivener note: I love that I am typing it in Scrivener (except when I'm forced to do writing by hand, like now) because I can do these jumps around in time and it doesn't matter. Not that my books are always in order from beginning to end. But it can be a mess to edit and to find things. Sometimes. But in Scrivener, I write the scenes in the chapters and then later I can worry where they go and they will be easy to find. It is taking one more thing to think about out of my brain and leaving those brain cells for doing the writing.

My current word count is 6515, which is 1515 over the target of 5000 for today. *

Saturday, November 2, 2013

NaNoWriMo Day Two & A Reminder

Remember that the time change happens tonight (for most of us in the US, I mean). At 2:00 AM the time changes, so set your clocks BACK one hour. Many digital clocks - on computers, alarm clocks, smart phones, and so on -  will reset themselves. But if you have analog clocks, like the one above in my living room (that's a stock photo, but it's the clock I have), or ones not somehow connected with the big time piece in the sky, make sure to do the manual switch.

Now, on to NaNoWriMo, Day Two.

I haven't quite hit the daily average, yet. I am still planning to write a little more before midnight to get to 1667 words. I want to keep the word bank I have for once my work week starts tomorrow. I have a few additional hours this week, which means a few less hours for writing, so I'd like to keep my cushion.

Even though I haven't hit the daily average yet, I am still ahead of target as of the end of day two. I am actually even ahead of where I should be at the end of day three, which is 5000 words. As of right now, I have 5670 words in my NaNoNovel. I have 203 more words to write to hit 1667 for the day.

So I'll keep this post short and get back to writing.

We'll see if I can get the yellow square changed to green before both hands on the analog clock are pointing straight up at twelve.

How is it going for other Wrimos? Any good bits in your stories, yet?

And how about those who are doing the poem a day challenge?

Or the non-fiction writing challenge I noticed the other day?

I love that so many writers are putting words together to make stories and poems and essays at the same time. I don't care what genre or mode we use to write. The important thing is that we continue writing. Putting a word after a word after a word.

As Margaret Atwood said, "A word after a word after a word is power."

Power to the authors.

Friday, November 1, 2013

And We're Off

Look! My square is green!

NaNoWriMo got off to a fun and bountiful start for me last night. I gathered with about 40 or so members of the Portland and Vancouver NaNoWriMo regions at PDX last night, starting at 11:00 pm. The event was scheduled until 3:00 am; my friend and I left about 2:00 am.

And I am happy to report that I headed home with 3,167 words in my NaNoNovel at that time. I've just spent a little more time with the same writer friend, eating dinner, catching up on non-NaNo life, talking about our novels and progress, and even a little more writing. As of right now, I have 4,203 words on my novel. That is 2,436 words over the goal for today. This makes me happy. And I might get in a few more words later tonight. After a walk and a break and stretching out my shoulders.



Oh - and I already have a body. I wasn't going to write a mystery novel, with bodies and such, this year. Oh, well. The characters want to play around with a little intrigue and mystery and things that go bump in the night, I guess. I told them it was their story, so here we go!

Today's writing meet up was at Cup and Saucer on Hawthorne. Good coffee, breakfast all day, wifi to update word count, and it's not too crowded. The only drawback is a lack of plug-ins - but if you know where they are and you can grab one, it's not an issue. Or make sure your battery is charged for at least an hour's worth of writing if you use a laptop.

Yes, that is Scrivener on my screen. I'm giving it a go this year : typing in Scrivener. Last night I started out in Word and then transferred the document into Scrivener, dividing the chapter into three scenes. Now that I've figured out a quick and easy way to compile and check my word count, that I have my preferences set so I don't have to do it each time; I think this will work well.

(Note: Scrivener does have a 30-day free trial. As a NaNoWriMo participant, they are extending that 30 day trial period so you can become a winner and get 50% off the purchase price, or even if you don't win, you can purchase the full version for 20% off as a participant. The trial version for NaNoAuthors will be extended into late December to give you time to get your Winner proof and buy the software. So far, I'm loving it!)

Theatrical Interpreting Workshop Update: CEUs are approved

Up to 3.6 CEUs have been approved by RID for the Theatrical Interpreting Preparation Series (TIPS) workshop, part I.

We will meet for two Saturdays per month, plus one interpreted performance per month, for a period of four months. The workshop will begin on December 7, 2013; the dates and times, with additional information, are on the workshop flyer (click the link).

Description: This workshop will provide participants training in and exposure to the process of performance interpreting, using theater as a vehicle. This initial training is intended for new interpreters, but all levels are welcome. We will meet twice a month on Saturdays for four months, beginning December 2013. Participants will learn different approaches to theatrical interpreting and explore topics such as script analysis, incorporating characterization, translation, altering signing style for the venue and the production, linguistic considerations, and more.  Through a series of meetings, combined with exposure to specific interpreted performances, participants will gain the basic skills necessary for a variety of performing arts situations. Completion of this training is a requirement for the advanced mentored training, which goes through the entire process from receiving the script, translation, preparation, to interpreting a performance of the project show. 

Click to read and download the TIPS I flyer, which includes the registration page.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Let the Party Begin


It's finally here! Nine hours from now, I will have begun my 2013 NaNoNovel, "The Center of the Univers." I will see what stories the characters have to tell and, maybe, have an idea where we're headed.

Tomorrow there will be a color in the first box of my NaNoWordCount box. As long as there isn't a technology glitch. Which often happen at the beginning of NaNoWriMo, as the system is pushed to its limits and beyond. Or maybe it won't crash this year. Sometimes it's not a crash, but some of the features are disabled at the beginning of the event since there is so much activity in the first few days. After the pack thins a bit and we all get under way, there aren't as many writers logging in at the same time.

So there will, hopefully, be a green square in November first early tomorrow morning. I am assuming I will get at least 1,667 words written at the midnight write-in - which is how I earn a green square. (The colors range from red=no wriring recorded; orange=a few words; yellow = a lot of words but less than the daily average.)

Oh, and it's Halloween. Make sure to have a kale and broccli salad, and a healthy protein if you're indulging in the sweetness of the day. Even if you're not into the rampant sources of sugar of this day, some good protein and a large portion of vegetables is a good idea.

And for al the Wrimos getting ready for the start of another period of writing intensity, protein is an essential option for optimal brain function.

Happy Halloween/Samhain and Happy NaNoWriting Day!


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Explosion of Luminous Creation

Tomorrow is NaNoWriMo Eve. I've been thinking that it was today because, as a late night person and a person who will be showing up at the midnight write-in tomorrow at 11pm, that is Tomorrow. But, technically, I will accept that tomorrow being October 31st makes it the "eve" to November 1st. 


Today I pulled up to the location of an appointment to be greeted by this beauty. Fall is my favorite season, I think. Partly because Fall is so variable, so unpredictable,‎ contains sun and rain and wind and clouds, warm days and cool nights. And sights like this. Trees and bushes exploding colors as they prepare for the (probably) colder days ahead. 

Even with the unseasonably warm and calm Fall we've had, we still get the illuminated leaves, golds, crimson, electric green and everything in between. Trees painting the neighborhood; leaves carpeting the streets. 

A tree of creative fire always catches my attention. 

I'd like to capture some of this energy in my NaNoNovel. 

Speaking of... a quick update. I now have photos to go with each of the main characters. I have ages, hair color, main role in the novel, a few attributes. I'm still working on hobbies, likes and dislikes. One of the characters picked up a pet when I found her photo; I didn't anticipate that - especially not a dog. I have nothing against dogs; this will just be the first time I have a dog in my novel, I realize. Usually there are some cats and two years ago the main cat had a central role in the story. A dog! That's good, too.

I think of the old TV commercial, with customer(s) at the door of a still closed store. It's dark outside. The customer(s) chant, "Open. Open. Open."

I'm chanting (silently), "NaNo. NaNo. NaNo."‎

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Temperature Drops as the Writing Heats Up

Here is another of my NaNoWriMo creative companions. This doll was made by my partner a couple of years ago and holds an important Tarot card. It's hard to see in this picture, but Serena even made the doll a cute NaNoWriMo t-shirt with the Office of Letters and Light logo.


On Sunday it rained and on Monday the wind blew. It now feels more like fall; like the end of October. Don't get me wrong! I loved the warm and unusually calm fall days we've had. But I did feel a bit of relief when I woke up to wet tires on the pavement, rain hitting the window, and a tree branch stroking the roof. It was probably the wind knocking over a loose board on the fence and tipping over the empty watering can on the porch which caused disruption in my dream; and that was okay.

The wet sloshing sounded familiar and my blanket felt cozy as I tucked it up under my chin.

I heard that Central Oregon got some snow today. As will Colorado tomorrow and I think somewhere in Montana they are expecting ten inches.

I'm fine with the rain. Which cleared into a cool and crisp and still windy Monday. A nice day which felt like fall.


Today I am meeting (even as I type) with my Tuesday writing partner for the first time in a few weeks, due to "life happens" events. It feels great to be back here with her, writing, talking about our goals, writing.

And today I am already having a NaNoWriMo character rebellion. Only one, but it has already started. The short story character I wrote about earlier, who would be joining this cast for NaNo2013, said "no." Not even with a "thank you" added, she has declined the offer to be in the novel. Or perhaps it was the original character who convinced her that she needed to stay in her own story. The change has been made in my Scrivener character notes and I am underway finding out more information about the original character. The short story beach walker will linger in the wind and sand with her KFC and girlfriend, until I can get back to them.

Ah, NaNo.


Monday, October 28, 2013

ASL Storytelling: Douglas the Space Boy

I won't take you through my process of how I landed on this ASL Storytelling video - except to say that it started with an online search about something NaNoWriMo. Of course it started with NaNoWriMo, which is just three days, eleven hours, ten minutes away from now.

This is a story in American Sign Language (ASL) by Peter Cook, an excellent storyteller who is Deaf. There are open captions and voice over for the signing impaired. And in the entertainment there is some information about the solar system.

Anytime is storytime. And NaNoTime is especially about stories, exploring how we tell stories, exploring the content in stories, exploration. Stories. It seems a perfect time to share a story told in ASL.


Saturday, October 26, 2013

Non-Writing NaNoPrep

NaNoWriMo is about writing. And having fun doing it, and more. NaNoWriMo is about a lot of things, but for me, one important aspect of the month is making time for writing. Moving writing up the ladder of Things That Must Be Done.

So my preparation for NaNovember has included doing more writing, stepping back up to writing every day, and thinking about what I might write. I've made several changes in potential topics, titles, and so forth. I think I have a plan, though I can't say as I have a plot. What I do have is ten characters with names and I'm fleshing out their details, writing up character sketches. I do have one of the major settings of the novel and have even come up with a name for the place - it's a theater. I'm writing up some history about the theater company and where they rehearse and sometimes perform, which isn't the same as the theater company's name.

A character from a short story which is currently out of consideration at a magazine, is making an appearance in this larger novel. She seems to want to be one of the major ten, so I have altered one of the original names and will let her play. And with that, I do know that the book's theater company is going to either take a company retreat to the coast or they might be performing at the coast. That part isn't clear, but this character insists on a trip to the beach, so they will.

But every year I have a few projects I want to get done before NaNovember starts so they are not distractions. There are plenty of things to draw my attention away from the novel without significant items on my to-do list. I didn't have many this year, but there are some.

One thing I will do on Thursday - a day off from all work - is laundry. NaNoEve and my clothes will be all clean and ready for the new novel to begin. Yes, I will have to do laundry during the month, but in the first few days, when the writing energy is high, I want as little else to do as possible so I can capitalize on the first flurry of words. Especially this year when I will be off on NaNoEve, NaNoDayOne, and the day after. I should be able to get this novel going with a large word count.

Today I finished cleaning up the garden, mulching, and putting it to bed for the winter. The late spinach never did take off and I pulled out the one surviving plant and had a bitty snack. I discovered two more ripe spaghetti squash and brought them in. And the garden beds are composted over and we will have awesome soil for next season.

Another major, albeit boring task was to replace all the toilet seats. I made a trip to Home Depot (and then to Lowe's for something Home Depot doesn't carry and Lowe's said they had in stock - but it turned out to not be what I wanted, so that project is actually going on hold until spring or until we find someone to do the actual job than my intended temporary fix). Boring, boring, I know. But the seats needed replacing and now they are. And we have shiny, new, better than the original toilet seats and I don't have to think about it while I'm writing.

I also have spinach bagged up in the freezer and fresh in the refrigerator; frozen homemade chicken soup stock, a bunch of apples and a couple of jars of organic crunchy peanut butter. And tea - I already had the tea from our favorite store in Taos, Wabi Sabi, and from a nice cafe and tea store in Yachats; but I now have soy milk to go with it, and I bought some cans of Amy's lentil soups for quick, healthy meals (which goes really well with the spinach).

I am NaNoReady. And still working on the characters. In five days, two hours and thirty minutes, NaNoWriMo 2013 will begin. Then I will be writing about my Novel In Progress rather than my NaNoPrep.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Growing a Writing Group

The Friday night writing group is still meeting. We've undergone a few big changes in our short history; lost a member, gained a member, had a couple of weeks off, now a change of schedule. We're also still finding our way with what it is that we want to do as a group.

The basic plan has been that we send writing to each other a couple of days before we meet. We read the writing ahead of time and make feedback notes. When we meet, the writer reads his or her piece and we discuss it. This week we had one piece from a writer, along with accompanying correspondence related to the piece. It was a good conversation.

We also spend some time each week talking about writing, submitting, current project, and so on. These are valuable writing conversations to have, too.

We've also made a temporary schedule change - to every other week for the time being, for the whole group. Partly due to the upcoming holidays and partly due to other commitments; it is hard to find a time which is consistent for all of us and Friday is the only day where all of our schedules overlap. So we'll make do with what we have and keep writing. On the group "off" weeks, a couple of us will still get together for writing support and, during November, for NaNoWriMo writing time.

The group is still working - it is also changing. And I still have my Tuesday midday writing time with another writer, although we've also missed a few due to "life happens" events. I've mostly managed to keep the Tuesday writing time for writing, even on the weeks when we haven't met.

Take two weekly writing dates, add an online poetry workshop/class (starts November 3rd), add NaNoWriMo, and I think I have a fairly strong writing practice. My hope this year will be to continue the strong writing practice after November 30th.

And I am thinking that I would like to add a manuscript writing/critique group into the mix. That one will take a little more searching and a little more time to find the right fit.

Writing is happening

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Rubber Duckie Fun

This is real. I saw a picture and wondered if it was digitally altered or a real event, so I went on an internet hunt.

It seems that there have been several of these 40-foot tall rubber ducks in cities around the world. Each city in which the ducks have appeared, have built their own duck from plans from the original by Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman.

According to one article there is no political agenda. Yellow rubber ducks make people smile and that makes people happy. Simple. End of story.

This video is the London duck, floating down the Thames. 

Here's to smiling.


Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Plot? What Plot? Who Needs a Plot?

I've been searching the internet for a story that fits my criteria for the NaNoWriMo idea I had. That did include a plot. Or part of a plot, anyway, because the actual plot would be based on said story or book.

So far I haven't found anything which caught my attention or looks interesting. Not in the way the first novel I wrote did - and that original story was stumbled on as I was writing my 2008 NaNoNovel.

I've been thinking that I am going to toss that idea out. No, I'm going to put it on hold. I still have this idea for a series. The first book is in revision. And I need to find the subject books/stories for books two and three. But it appears it is going to take more time than I have and I don't want to get bogged down in the search and lose any momentum for writing my story.

Not to worry, though, as I have come up with another idea. But there is no plot. Not yet. The plot will come as I write; I have confidence. I'm going to approach it from a completely different angle. I still have a week to wait until NaNoWriMo officially starts and I'm itching to get doing. But I can't for one week and 23 1/2 hours.

What I'm going to do over this next week is work with my muse on creating characters. Finding their names, getting some back story, maybe writing out some character sketches. Hopefully in that process, a setting will emerge. That's my hope. Gather in a few characters and let them play and let them tell me their story.

This could work. I've never taken this approach before, but I like it. And I do have a secret file of potential names I've been gathering over the years, here and there. I think I do even have a couple of character sketches in that secret file.

This could even be fun!

Plot, shmlot.


Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Writing Through ______(fill in the blank)

Writing is not something that happens when life is smooth sailing. When the stars are aligned and everything is calm, everyone satisfied, the cat sated and asleep, family members smiling and getting along.

Or maybe I should say that those things are not required for writing to happen. They help! I agree. But not required. I would even argue that life's little knocks are often fodder for story, for getting us to the feeling state - in the body, as I'm sure Lidia Y and Dorothy A would say - which can help keep our writing alive.

I am in one of those states. There is something happening in the circle of my life which threatens to pull me into an eyes forward, hunker down for the storm to hit, kind of state. I'm standing up to it and I am writing. I haven't written about the situation yet - but I'm not letting it shut me down.

I said I was going to post more here as I step up my writing practice in preparation for NaNoWriMo. This morning I did more editing on the professional standard practice paper. That writing was research and formatting of our resources page; not creative writing, but it got my butt in the chair.

So here I am. Writing through the family drama. Writing through the professional paper and related article for our newsletter/magazine. Writing through fighting the cold which is going around and threatening to get in to my body (but it won't win; I'm heavily armed with Wellness tabs and fizzies).

Showing up.