Friday, August 31, 2018

Sometimes My Job is to Not Work


Yesterday was Going To The Fair Day. Not officially, of course. A friend and I went down to Salem just to check it out, watch a couple of typical fair shows (the Cirque Zuma Zuma, and the Alaskan Pig Races and Hurdle Jumping),

It was a good day. It was a day I didn't work at ll.

When we'd had enough of the fair (somewhere around 7 hours later), we left. We drove back up to Portland to write for a while.

It was a good day - the not working and doing something just for fun. With a dollop of writing on top at the end of it all.

And now I get to attend a special Happy Hour event at an organization I respect madly for an event I adore. Yes, it's (non-writing) work-related, but it will be fun, too. And a good networking opportunity - practice for when I get my book published (no, not contracted, yet; pie in the sky dreaming!)

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Let's not talk about The Weather

It is now August. The temperature is going up, again. It's summer, I know, it's supposed to be hot.

It is.

Hot. As in temperature hot. We used to get 2 to 5 days of hot, which to me means mid- to upper 90s, hovering around 100. We've already had many of those days. And streaks of those days. They started early (I think the first one was in May) and have continued to show up. Last week it finally cooled down to a lovely mid-70s for the highs; it was lovely. There is another heat wave coming to land in the area later today, upper 80s, then into the 90s the next few days.

It's summer. Hot. I know.

So what does this have to do with writing? My writing space is upstairs, in a front, full south facing room, with four very lovely 3x6 windows. I love it. And - hot. Luckily, one item on the remodel list a couple of years ago was the windows. Now they open, so I can let the heat out; except when it's this 90+ hot, it never gets cool, but the room can at least breathe.

But that's also okay, because I can (and do) write in other spaces.

Did I say that I don't like the heat?

  • Writing. It's still happening. It moves down the priority list when there is a show to prep, but it never falls off my radar any more. Which is good.
  • Theatre (the JAW week was fantastically intense and inspiring and fun and audiences loved it). I'm working on a couple of other theater projects right now - though not play interpreting preparation, other aspects of theatrical interpreting.
  • Work is work - good, don't get me wrong. But it is that time of year when there is a lot of pressure to have fun get ready for school take care of the yard go on vacation finish the summer projects weed the garden harvest the too many tomatoes too many zucchini buy school supplies buy school clothes start planning the holiday puzzle with family exercise eat lite find joy find solitude party like you'll soon have no time and on and on and on. Irritability seems to be running on high in the content of the work and joy is simultaneously minimized and being sought.

I'm also wondering what to do here - what direction do I want to take this in and how far. It has meandered through a couple of ideas in the early days. Then it was more "this is me writing", reflective. And recently it has become a place to update on writing progress (or stallouts) and workshops and bits of information from different parts of my life. With the occasional NaNoWriMo updates, and Camp NaNo, though I barely wrote here during July, when I did successfully do my Camp NaNoWriMo goal of writing the equivalent of an hour each day.

I used to post prompts once a week. I think for a little while I posted twice a week - two different types of prompts. I used to post advice, mostly links to websites/blogs/posts.

I wasn't on Facebook I would probably write more here. Although I'm not generating a lot of original content there, either. Mostly promoting interpreted performances, with a few comments here and there. Reposts.

I heard that blogs are making a comeback - or trying to. As people move away from social media a bit, because the amount of information can be overwhelming and there is so much false information being shared - so many lies, misunderstandings, so much hate. And also a lot of love and true information and resources. There are connections I have in Facebook that I probably wouldn't have, at least not to that extent, if I didn't have a social media connection. Maybe there will be a decent alternative someday. Although, as things go, it will probably decline after a while, too.

I've rambled enough.

I have no insights.

I have thoughts beyond "too hot" and "how's the traffic" and "what time do I need to leave to get to work/my appointment."

But now, it is time to wrap this up and ... what? Publish it? Or delete it? Or wait until I can clean it up and then publish it?

Naw. Raw thoughts are sometimes worth sharing. I don't know if these are "worth it" - but I'm going to do it, anyway.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Mid-July check in

So - writing is happening (editing). And grant writing (work). And I am launching into an immersive theatrical interpreting experience in two days! Decided this is a good time to post a quick update before all thoughts are focused elsewhere.

On the writing front, I am still editing. My editing slowed a little as I necessarily focused my attention on a grant application which is due week after next. I am currently editing a story that I submitted part of for the last manuscript workshop. So parts of this editing are sailing and some, I'm shaking my head and thinking, "I hope I didn't submit that part looking like that!" I am, again, feeling hopeful about this book and want to bring it out into the world. Here's to holding onto that thought!

I'm not going to say a lot about the grant here, right now. It is for an exciting project and I am working with a couple of other people to make it happen. Once I get the grant submitted, then I have to wait a couple of months for the decisions to be announced. More on that later. Other than to say that grant writing is not easy, but I knew that before I started the process.

The theatrical immersion project is Portland Center Stage's JAW festival. It is a festival of new plays, where the chosen playwrights are brought in to work with directors, actors, stage managers. The plays are workshopped and change daily, often several times in a day. And at the end (July 27-29), there is the Promising Playwrights Kickoff event (Fri 7/27), where the eight selected students 10-minute plays will be presented as staged readings; then Sat 7/28 and Sun 7/29 are the staged readings of the four JAW playwrights' scripts. Which I and my team will be interpreting. This is almost like competitive performance interpreting, because we spend a ton of time attending the rehearsals, keeping up with script changes, meeting with the team to work out interpreting, and changing as needed as the scripts change. Diving into the deep end of performance interpreting for this event - and it's okay, I know how to swim.

And to end on a writing note. I also decided to join Camp NaNoWriMo this month. Yes, my plate is already overflowing, but Camp NaNo helps me keep engaged with my writing and I am also using it for the grant. For Camp NaNo this time around, I am counting minutes spent writing, on both my editing and my grant writing. I am way ahead at this point (partly due to being away for three days last week). Below are my current Camp NaNo stats.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Manuscript Editing Update

I am editing almost every day. Even when I've been preparing to interpret a somewhat intensive (though very FUN) play, I have still managed to keep moving forward with editing.

It's all in time management.

Or that's what I'm expected to say. I suppose it's partly true - although my time is non-standard. With the hours I work and preparing for a play, my writing time is often very late at night - or very early in the morning, depending on one's perspective. I am fortunate to have a friend who is a coworker and author with similar hours, and we often help hold each other accountable. Which means, at times, we go write after work/rehearsal - meaning that we are writing at 11pm or midnight or 1:00am.

I have crossed the halfway point in my manuscript hand edits and the section I'm on right now is moving at a faster pace. The by-hand edits are a little slower, but I am making progress and strengthening the story. When I get through with the hand edits, then I will have to enter all of the edits into the electronic manuscript, which will undoubtedly mean more edits in that update process.

It is going to get done. I'm not sure when and there are a couple of potentially large projects, as well as two known large and time-consuming projects, ahead.

My goal is to have the hand edits done before October 30th. My super goal is to have the hand edits done and entered into the electronic manuscript before October 30th. If I can make that goal, then I want to spend November (NaNoWriMo!) on writing a first/rough draft of a new novel. No, I don't have anything in mind right now, but I would love to start something new.

Making progress! Lots of progress.

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

How Does My Garden Grow

This year I put in a small garden, again. I skipped the garden last year - I was busy, the timing of a trip, rapid sprouting spinach and lettuce the previous year which we never go to eat. And. I didn't.

But this year I purchased several varieties of tomatoes and different sizes of plants (ages). I wanted to have the tomatoes spread out as to when they ripen and are ready to eat. I also planted spinach, variety of lettuce, a spaghetti squash plant, a watermelon plant. And I put in beet seed. Oh, and kale. I don't have hope of getting much of the kale, since the aphids really love kale around here. But, from the last two times I had kale, the aphids keep primarily to the kale and off the other plants. So far, I have been able to harvest a little of the kale and no aphids, yet!

We do have a few baby tomatoes on the biggest plant, The others look like they're going to make it, too.

The beets have sprouted - although they drifted significantly from where I put the seeds. But that's not a problem.

I've had several green smoothies with spinach from the garden. We've had a heat wave the last few days and three of my spinach plants are threatening to bolt, so I did some major pruning/harvesting today.

This is some of what I picked today. A dinner salad straight from the garden. So delicious!


I am very honored and humbled that VoiceCatcher selected my piece, "Rabbit Test," to be included in their Spring 2018 issue. The journal was published on Friday, June 15th.

VoiceCatcher is a publication I respect and it was high on my list of places I hoped to be published. I admire their goals, their integrity, all of the work they do. As well as the relationship they have with the community and with their contributors. The process was wonderful, and I had a wonderful editor who worked with me to make a few final edits to strengthen the work.

Thank you, VoiceCatcher, for including my writing.

I am also excited that I will be one of the contributors reading my story at the launch party on Sunday, June 24th. I am proud to be a part of this community of creative individuals and to have another excerpt from my memoir (currently in the editing process) out in the world.

The "Rabbit Test" link is under the Prose section.

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Office Space in Natural Light

This is a panoramic photo, so the depth is somewhat distorted. This photo was taken in natural light, which shows the actual colors of the rug, as well as give a better sense of the re-done space. Since this photo, I have updated the curtains, too, which you can see in the second photo. The curtains have a similar pattern to that in the rug. I have some heavier red and white curtains I planned to put up for a second layer, but I'm debating that decision now. For now, I like the light through the windows and, so far, the white curtains are keeping out most of the full southern facing windows heat; we aren't at the pinnacle of the heat yet, although we have had several consecutive days in the 80's. I've been in there at night and it keeps fairly dark, because there is not a street light next to our house. I may want the second, heavier layer on the other side of summer, when it starts getting cold again, to keep the heat in. Bur, for right now, I have these eggy/spiral/rock patterned white curtains.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Nearly There & Submitted

The Room update ; it is ninety percent completed. Still to do: (1) workspace desk organized (currently it still has piles and containers of like objects [paper clips, pushpins, pencils, pens, stones & significant pieces of flotsam, tools], organizer trays to sort and reorganize, etc); (2) the closet full of memories (literally! old journals, old pottery I made, silk scarf blanks, posters, and more); (3) hang the new curtains.

Here is the new rug. The things on the edges will be moved once it relaxes a bit. It had been tightly rolled up for who knows how long. So the chair and shredder and other things are holding down the edges. I know it doesn't look calming in the photo, but it is (to me) and it makes me happy.

Yesterday, I sent out a dystopian short story to a place I believe it fits. I hope they publish it. It is the same story I was going to submit to a contest a few days ago; but I'd overlooked that the midnight deadline was EST, which meant that I missed the deadline by an hour rather than submitting it with two hours left. So yesterday I did a lot of research and then a friend suggested a publication and, yes, I think this story fits there nicely. Will post another update when I find out. Either way, I'm happy to have that story out in the world.