Friday, May 21, 2021

Still Here. Don't Know What to Say.

 It's been over four months since I've put anything here. 

Which is not the same as not writing for four months. I've been writing. A lot. I've been in workshops and working on book projects and experimenting with writing essays and different styles of memoir pieces and I even took a class on making an illustrated manuscript (page or book).

But I haven't written here.

How much "woe is me" and "the pandemic is hard" and "life is great/sucks/changes" writing can I produce and can anyone read?

The truth is that I could write a lot of that. Potentially. That is not what I've been writing and not what I wanted to put here.

So. Nothing was put here.

And I'm thinking again - what is this space? What should go here? What do I want it to be?

I don't know right now.

I am writing. I am doing some theater again - baby steps to distanced outdoor theater and I've been doing a little virtual theater (staged readings mostly; some audio plays/dramas). And writing. And working. A couple of big theater projects in the works - one of which is being recorded tomorrow. 

In a time of transition and some people are going to quickly, in my opinion. (And the opinion of several people I know.) Let's open a bit, see what happens. If the numbers don't spike, then let's go a little more. But let's not just throw all caution to the wind and jump into the mosh pit. Please. Too late. Okay, then I'll continue to be a little cautious while we see what happens.

I will also continue to think what I would like this space to be.

For now, here is a sample I made of an illustrated letter.

Monday, January 4, 2021

New Year(ish)

What is new right now is that the year is 2021. There is not much else, if anything, that has changed. I've seen comments about this actually being 2020 v.2 and such and it does feel kind of like that. Yes.

Some of us are waiting for January 21st for the New Year to begin. This week will be getting the final step of the electoral votes finally confirmed and done - and there are some Republicans who are vowing to vote against that, even though

Except that I missed posting anything here during December 2020. I intended to post more. The pandemic hit. I intended to write something to share at least once a month - which I did, until December.

What is not new is that the COVID-19 pandemic still rages. It rages now more than it did three months ago. The surge is bad. The experts say there is another surge coming, which will be worse. For those of us who believe the science, who are following the data, we know that is true. It is. It's simple - if you believe and follow the data. Stay home, wear your mask, keep your distance.

What is not new is that the outgoing President still claims to be the victim of a fraudulent election and there are a few clinger-on Republicans supporting his claims. One thing which astounds me about that is, don't they understand that if they claim fraudulent election, are they not also calling into question their own positions? Are they not also saying that all election results are invalid, which means theirs, as well? It is so ridiculous and yet it is also a little horrifying and even frightening, that there are so many people who are blindly following this 

I did not drop in here to write about politics, yet I can't or don't want to let it be totally ignored. There is a lot of good information out there from people far better qualified and better armed with facts to write about what is happening politically, so I will leave it to them. And I will read what they write, as well as follow reliable news sources. 

I stopped by here and noticed I had skipped a month of posting. Not skipped a month of writing, though. I actually wrote a lot in December, partially thanks to Ariel Gore's Literary Kitchen and the wonderful, amazing, talented and supportive writers she brings together in writing classes, workshops, groups. As a matter of fact, I'm in a manuscript revision workshop which just started on Friday - which is going to be helpful and generative and I should have really good progress on a book project in three months!

So - Happy New Year and lets look forward to a new President and Vice President and lets get the mess of the last four years cleaned up (it's more than that, I know, absolutely) and lets also keep the anti-racism efforts going and growing.

Again: Stay home, wear your mask, keep your distance. The pandemic is not yet done with us.

And keep creating! Creativity is what will get us through. 

Sunday, November 29, 2020

NaNoWriMo 2020 update - It's A Win

Usually in November I post a NaNoWriMo update every day. Obviously that didn't happen this year. Just as many things have not happened this year due to the pandemic and the election.

But NaNoWriMo did happen. I did participate. And I did cross the finish line with 50,222 words written beginning at midnight on November 1st. I crossed the line on November 28th at 11:49 pm. I finished the 50k but I will continue to write every day, to make my second goal of writing every day.

This year NaNoWriMo felt differently. Contributing factors were probably:
- the pandemic;
- the election and post-election (which isn't yet over, but a middle ground has sort of been achieved);
- my aunt died early in the month and she was a big supporter; she was someone I knew read my blog posts every day of NaNoWriMo, so that was definitely one impact;
- I was in a workshop for the first 12 days of the month, which was intentional and probably in the long run helpful, though at times I questioned my decision. And I know without a doubt that I would do it again;
- I did not go on my annual NaNoWriMo writing retreat. I think there was one other year I didn't make it to the beach and that had a big impact. So I'm sure not being able to go was a factor in things feeling a little more "slogging" or "off;"
- did I mention the coronavirus pandemic? Oh, yes. Well, it should be mentioned twice - and I will attach the loss of theatre to the pandemic. It will be back, but I miss it - as an interpreter and as a patron.

But I did it in spite of everything working against us this year. And I will do it again next year. Hopefully I will be able to make my pilgrimage to the beach in 2021.

Saturday, November 14, 2020

NaNoWriMo 2020 Update

I have managed to write every day of NaNoWriMo this year. So far. I am going to try to complete another full 30 days of writing. I am also hoping to get to 50,000 words before Thanksgiving. If I'm not at 50k by that day, then I hope to be close enough to wrap it up on Saturday 11/28. Because this year I am working the last two days of the month, which means that there won't be much writing happening.

As of right now, I am 1000 words underneath the target number for November 14th. With only 30 minutes until midnight, I doubt I am going to get caught up before another 1667 words are added to where I should be.

I am also three days in to my at home writing retreat. What I realize already is that my annual writing retreat during NaNoWriMo is absolutely the best thing to do. I always write more when I'm at the coast, with the express purpose of being there to write. No expectations about amount of sleep, about doing the laundry or medicating the cat or anything else. No need to go do household errands. Well, honestly, the errands and such are very minimal because of the pandemic. We are on the brink of another heavily mandated stay at home order because the cases are on the rise. I didn't leave the house at all for three days. Today we went to my ND's office to pick up a supplement and then we went to Starbucks for a special treat - through the drive-through because we are not going in. No way!

But this year I am not dragging my Multnomah County germy air to the doing well in terms of COVID-19 numbers to the coast. Not even to a private beach house which is probably safe - but someone will have to clean it after us. And someone else could have been there before us. And on the drive over, unless I dehydrated myself ahead of time, I'd probably have to use a public restroom somewhere, which doesn't feel at all safe. 

So. I stay home this year. I've watched two streaming performances (both short) and I started to watch a Philip Glass opera (which I will finish later; it was not conducive to my writing and my partner is feeling a little grumpy, tired of the pandemic and being stuck home so much - so opera was not at all melding with that energy; I don't blame her, I understand - but too much for the opera to continue). I will finish the opera later or maybe tomorrow before it goes away tomorrow night.

I'm writing. Signing up for the Writing with the Tarot online workshop with Ariel was also a lifesaver. It has definitely helped me keep writing. Even if the pieces are incomplete or with compacted endings I need to open up, I feel like I have an actual, viable project this year. Which is a good thing, because I also signed up for the manuscript workshop in January to March of 2021. My plan all along was that I would (hopefully) have the beginnings of a manuscript from this month to bring to fruition. And I believe I will.

I am writing a book. It is not a novel - although recently I discovered that rather than a set of short stories, this is looking like those stories will still be there, but there is mostly likely going to be a throughline story tying them all together. Somehow. That is not entirely clear, although I have had a glimpse of what that uniting thread will be.

I am excited. When I'm not wondering why I'm doing this. And I am missing the coast, the ocean outside the door, the wind and it's salty rain, the seagulls crying and warning; the digging in under the blankets on the corner sofa, side to the window so I can still see along the coastline.

Writing intreat? Sounds better than a "staycation" a friend commented. And she's right.

NaNoWriMo is happening in 2020 style. Which means, the unexpected can and will happen. Words are flowing and we'll see what I have when I return to work later next week.

Thursday, November 5, 2020

NaNoWriMo Day 4

 Day 3 writing happened. It was a little interrupted due to (a) the election and (b) work. But words happened.

Day 4 happened! I wrote a bunch of words. And I made my annual NaNoWriMo desktop calendar for my laptop. That way it is always with me for November. My current word count at end of day was 7005 words.

I am writing stories and having fun. It helps that I am in the Writing with the Tarot workshop with Ariel Gore. Deadlines and other writers and - go!

Monday, November 2, 2020

NaNoWriMo 2020 Day Two - Shaking it Up

Here are a few details of a longer story, which I'll hold for later.

Today I changed my NaNoWriMo project. I returned to the project I was thinking I'd do since August, when I decided I would go ahead with NaNoWriMo this year. I mean, why not? But in workshop in October, I wrote the bones of another large project and had decided to go with that.

I stalled out on my writing during the midnight write-in. I did write some, but only about half of my normal beginnings. That, paired with a few other reasons, led me to rethink my goal. With careful contemplation and checking some resources, I decided it would change back.

Then this afternoon I proceeded to double my word count for day one and I created a NaNo cover. I know there are some design challenges and flaws, but it's good enough for a work in progress and it makes me smile. 

I present my *new* NaNoWriMo book project: Fractures of Wind. And the snippet of my end of Day One word count (above).

Saturday, October 31, 2020

It's Happening Tonight at Midnight: NaNoWriMo 2020


Yes, this will be happening! It seems very fitting that my 13th consecutive NaNoWriMo will begin with a full moon and in this midst of our current circumstances. I even have a working title and a few ideas! I am looking forward to midnight! The first midnight write-in will be virtual but still taking place. Snacks and full laptop battery and as-of-yet-unworn 2020 NaNoWriMo shirt are ... ready... get set .....

[*this one's for you, Aunt Donna - I know you're watching from the other side of the the veil this year*]

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Bodies Breathing Heartbeats

A friend posted a question in Facebook, which triggered me to think about what things I'm not doing during the pandemic. I made a list of what I am doing - what I have done since the day first things (in my corner of the world) started being canceled, restricted, closed down: March 13, 2020.

If you know me in 3-D world, you know that I am an introvert. And a shy introvert, at that. I only put that here for those who don't know, because it is relevant to what I am about to say.

One of the things I miss most is being in the room with other creative people. Theatre people; artist people; writer people. As soon as the "stay home, stay safe" order came out and theatrical performances were postponed then canceled, I signed up for a few writing workshops. Online writing workshops, because that was - and is - what's available. 

I love my online writing workshops. I have worked with some amazing facilitators and writers online, through Ariel Gore's Literary Kitchen and through Corporeal Writing. My writing workshops with Ariel are almost entirely online all the time, with an occasional in-person class when she's in town. But my workshops with Corporeal Writing have been 90% in real space, breathing together, writing together, sharing heartbeats in real time and place. It's been a perfect mix for me. But since mid-March 2020, all of my writing community is online. 

I am grateful for the ability and opportunity to continue connections, continue mentoring and facilitation, playing with new kinds of writing, exploring words together while apart.

But one this I miss the most right now is the ability to be in the room together as we create, individually and collectively. Because I also think that anytime a group of creative people come together to share art making in real time and space, we are also creating community, some of which may be temporary for that specific time and some of which may carry over into our lives. 

And, for me, I like some heart breathing bodies together time, too. 

I miss being bodies and hands and hearts in the same space for creative adventures.

But, by being safe, keeping distance now, wearing masks/face coverings, good hygiene, limiting bodies together in space time, we can come together later. In real time. In real space. And breathe words together.

I miss my 3-D writing people time.

Photos from the Transmutation Book Making writing workshop through Corporeal Writing, with Ruth Patience Bryant and Domi Shoemaker.