Friday, October 31, 2008

reminder: performance

It opened tonight and there are three more opportunities if you haven't seen it:

Music in the Middle: An Evening of Duets
with Mike Barber and Cydney Wilkes
Friday-Sunday October 31-November 2, 2008

8PM, $15 admission nightly
additional matinee performance Sunday @ 2 PM

(See October 27 for more information)

three hours and ten minutes

I just got home from a 12-hour job. Exhausted, physically and mentally. Not because the work itself was hard, but going into it with not enough sleep (for several days) and some other stresses, I don't have the resources to make it easier. It is a place where the service providers have to be aware of who is where and keep a sense of the pulse of the place and people nearest.

But the work day is done. And I found myself wondering if I was really going to the midnight write-in! Geez! I have been ready for this day, that hour, and looking forward to being there with others. And now that it is here - I am considering NOT going?!?

No. I will go. I am determined to start this adventure off on the right track by keeping to my commitment to myself and get this novel going. I am sure it is just old patterns getting in the way -- a new adventure, unknown people, the chance of failure (so why even try?), the chance of success (who do you think you are? don't go gettin' a swelled head there, missy) -- excitement and joy masquerading as fear and fatigue so I won't be disappointed.

I. Will. Go.

I stopped at a bento place on the way home, bought chicken & steamed veggies on brown rice and an order of edamame. This way, I can be home, check my email, eat something healthy and warm *and* take a nap. And I have an iced soy latte waiting for me for when I wake up.

And I plugged in my laptop to get it fully charged - since I don't plan on being an early bird (I will be there before midnight, but I am not going to hang around for two hours before we can start) and may not be able to get plugged in until a few people go home.

I am ready. I am tired so I will nap. I will go to the midnight gathering and begin my 50,000 words. I will not let fear of failure/success stop me from following my desire to begin my novel in a like-minded group with the same goal - to finish.

twenty-four hours from now

One major project was completed tonight. Just in time. Because twenty-four hours from now I will (hopefully) have written my first words of the novel I hope to have completed (or at least past the 50,000 word mark) in a month. I will be 15 minutes into my first NaNoWriMo!

My plan right now is to come home and catch a couple hours sleep after a 12-hour work day before I head over to Fireside for the Midnight Write-In. The trick will be quelling my excitement that the time is finally here so that I can actually *sleep*. I've been a little short on sleep and would like to get a good jump on the writing ... so .... a long nap is in order. If I can; I'm not normally a napper, though I did manage to get in nearly an hour before tonight's event since I arrived a couple hours before I needed to go in.

Sleep. Work. Short sleep. And the fun will begin!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

in two days

Two days from now, at this same time, I will officially be 45 minutes in to NaNoWriMo. I wonder how many words will be on the virtual page? How long will I be able to stay at the write-in, writing? What will I be writing about? Who will be there? Will there be anyone I know from other parts of my life? (As far as I know, no one I know is actually doing it ... but I suspect there are a few who may be participating but I either haven't seen, haven't heard them talk about it, or I don't see them often.)

Two days! Yay.

And I received confirmation that I do have a place to stay at the beach for three days in the middle of the month. So me and my laptop will be heading over there for three days of intensive writing, sleeping, and walks on the beach (if it's not too cold and rainy).

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

found: new writing (theater)

Portland Center Stage’s
invites you to a concert reading of

The Drunken City

By Adam Bock
November 3, 2008
@ Portland Center Stage
128 NW Eleventh Avenue (between Couch & Davis)
in the Rehearsal Room

Admission is free, but space is limited

Please email Megan Ward at to reserve your seat


Marnie’s getting married! The girls are out on the town to celebrate her last night of being single, when they run into Frank and Eddie. Sparks fly and Marnie is left questioning why she’s getting married. In The Drunken City, everyone is trying to sober up and find some balance — especially the bride-to-be.
Adam Bock’s plays include The Thugs (OBIE Award), Swimming in the Shallows (3 BATCC Awards, Clauder Award), Five Flights (Glickman Award), The Typographer’s Dream, The Shaker Chair and Three Guys and a Brenda (Heideman Award), and The Receptionist, which is currently running at CoHo Productions. He is the resident playwright at Encore Theater, a Shotgun Players artistic associate, and a New Dramatists member playwright. He is currently writing a screenplay for Scott Rudin/Miramax.

Our outstanding cast includes:

Brittany Burch, Paul Glazier, Chris Harder, Julie Jeske Murray, Chris Murray & Laura Faye Smith

Now Hear This and Portland Center Stage gratefully acknowledge the support of the Oregon Cultural Trust
Information from
Mr Mead's Pupu Platter


I filled out my ballot and dropped it at the elections office on my way to work this morning.

With fingers crossed, I look at the clock and know that a week from now we could know who the next president will be. And how many of the local Sizemore and Mannix measures failed (all of them, I hope).

Vote. Done.

One more thing off the list and NaNoWriMo begins in three days, two hours and twenty minutes. hehehe gulp !

Monday, October 27, 2008

found: performance

Two of my all-time favorite dance performers are presenting new work. The process leading to this production is one of dedication to their art and communities. What the year-long commitment to practice, flying here and there (within and without the US) , fundraising, and performance entailed, I will leave up to readers to discover. Both of them have the skill, presence, and dedication required. I am sure it will be an evening of delight and inspiration. Four opportunities to see these masters perform their own duets and to perform a new work created for them by Deborah Hay, another master of dance.

Music in the Middle: An Evening of Duets
with Mike Barber and Cydney Wilkes
Friday-Sunday October 31-November 2, 2008

8PM, $15 admission nightly
additional matinee performance Sunday @ 2 PM

Music in the Middle is the NW premier of Deborah Hay's duet Found Music, as well as that of two duets created by long time collaborators and Portland favorites Cydney Wilkes (Cul De Sac) and Mike Barber (Bomb), These two duets explore the artists' responses to how two individuals can inhabit the same space. Original music for Bomb and Cul De Sac is composed by Barber's and Wilkes' long time collaborator Heather Perkins.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

anticipation (insert song lyrics here)

I would type more of the song lyrics here, but have been told there is a five word limit without it being labeled copyright infringement. Even if it is a compliment or perhaps free advertisement for the song. Oh well, the one word probably conjures up what I want to say anyway, and those who know the song probably have it in their heads by now.

So: anticipation of the big event is growing. In case someone does not know what I am talking about: NaNoWriMo - to write a 50,000 word rough draft of a novel in 30 days.

The new webmaster for the organization where I have been filling that role for a few years seems to be doing well and pretty independently (I am still available for consultation and backup). My goal was to get that handed off before November: check, done.

I still do not have a plot nor a cast of characters. And that is fine.

One project this week is not going quite as planned and I am trying to be positive about that. It is being more stressful and energy sucking than I hoped - but it ends before Novemeber begins, so all should be well. I just need to plan a little down time to rest and let go of the stress.

I am so excited.six days from now I will have begun my novel. And will have had some sleep and may be back at the keyboard.

So I am waiting. And anticipating the journey which begins soon. A journey to 50,000 words in 30 days.

(Notice that I am practicing using less contractions: word count is two instead of one - a helpful hint from an experienced NaNo writer - although I doubt I will completely eliminate them since they are a part of my style. I guess it might depend on who shows up on the virtual page at midnight on 11/01/08.).
Artwork from BWH Bulletin
painting "Anticipation" by Joan Gold

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

it just keeps getting better

Today I received an email announcing that my favorite writing teacher and local author has set up a NaNoWriMo forum for her current, lapsed, and on the roles for future workshops/classes students. Good news, because now, in addition to the random community of writers I have been corresponding with online related to NaNoWriMo, there is going to be a community of writers whom I am assuming (dangerous -- yeah yeah) we have at least a little more in common via a shared teacher, mentor, friend.

Today the excitement far outweighs the nervousness and fear of failure.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

counting down

The excitement is building. Hope and fear ride the alternating currents of doubt and self-confidence. I check my schedule to make sure I have enough time blocked out. I read the mounting piles of forum posts and scan the expanding list of options and questions to make sure I'm getting everything I need.

Can I do it? I Will Do It. I will? Yes.

NaNoWriMo is coming. As if I haven't said that several times already and as if there isn't the biggest badge they have available sitting just to the left of this post when it is new. Ten days. In ten days I will begin a thirty day journey to write 50,o00 words by the end of that time period.

It will begin at midnight Halloween-to-November.

I don't have a plot. I don't have a set of characters waiting in the wings. I don't have a location nor a journey nor a goal other than earning the label of "winner" by writing 50,000 words in November. There have been a couple things which may be included in my novel which have surfaced in freewrites (one character appeared in a 3-minute sprint write; I liked her voice, so she may have a part to play in whatever story surfaces), or picked up on a sign-in sheet at a location where I went one day (a last name), or a snippet of an overheard conversation (shhh, I'm not telling right now), or a feeling that surfaced when my aunt told me earlier this afternoon that she has some letters my mother sent to my grandmother many many years ago and would I like them?

I am fine with not knowing where my novel will go. I will join the others at midnight (I will probably show up a little earlier, as I know others will, too) and, yes, I will wear my pajamas as has been suggested. My goal is to be there at least four hours - maybe as much as six hours. And just write. I will have a little stash of prompts with me, which I will share if anyone else wants a random place to start.

I will start up my laptop and see what comes out as an opening. Then see who shows up on the virtual page and where they want to go. And I will follow them for the month and see where we end up. A journey. Between me and the characters who want to play along for thirty days.

The countdown is now official. Ten days to the tenth NaNoWriMo...

Thanks to Lori and her
Superfantastic blog
for the graphic.

found: Kenge Kenge

a musical tribute
"Obama for Change"

About the musical group: "Kenge Kenge symbolise all that is great about African traditional music; they are the guardians and masters of an ancient but living tradition. They breath new life into Kenya's Luo musical roots, continuing its evolution, from the hand-made instruments of the past, through the popular guitar-based benga, and now returning to both re-explore the acoustic origins of benga and embrace their Luo musical heritage. "

Thanks to Ariel Gore
bringing this video
to my attention!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

returning home

It has been a short and hurry-up and wait busy yet not trip to Alaska. Earlier tonight I packed up my suitcase in anticipation of tomorrow's quick departure right after the last thing I'm scheduled to do. Then tonight had a really fun job which went really well. Then I got my boarding pass printed at the hotel's front desk, sent directions from home to the Seattle airport where my ride home will meet me and I will make the return drive to Portland. (Long story, but going from Anchorage to Seattle tomorrow was the quickest and easiest - the only actually - way to get home on Sunday night. Earlier this week there were a couple other options added, but my ticket price would have doubled.)

Again, I've found the people to be friendly, welcoming, and a pleasure to work with. I would definitely make the trip again.

So now, with everything lined up, printed, signed, and arranged, I'll go back up to my room and go to bed. So I can get up in the morning, have breakfast with a small group of colleagues, and then go to my final assignment. Where I may or may not actually work, depending on who shows up. Which is how this conference has gone and it has been fine.

I like this community, their commitment and dedication to improving themselves and the profession. And I've met more people and my own community has grown, despite the several hours difference.

And the NaNoWriMo numbers are growing. I just read a statistic that 2007 had over 100,000 writers participate and 15,000 of them were winners (complete the 50,000 words). Two weeks from today I will have some words written and my novel will have begun. I have no idea how many words I will have by this time in two weeks -- but there will be some!

Friday, October 17, 2008

on the road again

Here I am in Anchorage, AK, again. Last spring I came to proctor the national certification exam and train some local interpreters at the same time, so they are able to do it themselves. (There is a new test which has been out a couple years, but Alaska didn't have anyone trained in the new test, yet - same as some other areas. The old test runs out in a couple months, so will no longer even be available. So they flew me up to give the test and train others.)

This time I'm here for work at their state affiliate chapter conference. It is beautiful up here, with some snow already on the ground. And cold. And I'm sick. I was knocked down with an illness very late Tuesday night and ended up canceling all my appointments and even found a sub for my volunteer writing group on Wednesday. Today, I feel like I will get over this; yesterday on the plane to Anchorage, I felt like I was going to be sick forever. Flying and sinus stuffiness do not mix!

All in all, though, it is being a good experience. The people putting on the conference are very nice, well organized, and I feel comfortable with them. And the bed in the hotel is comfortable; I actually slept almost 9 hours last night!

Not getting much done in terms of writing ... but am getting a lot done in terms of resting. In the long run, that will be beneficial, as I will go into NaNoWriMo replenished, I hope.

Here is a picture of downtown Anchorage today from a webcam. Last spring it felt like early evening at 10:00 at night; today it felt like approaching dawn at 10 am. It's fun getting to see another side of the light/dark seasons. (Don't know if I need to see the dark nearly all day -- who knows!)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

prompt: photography as a window to writing

Here is an image to play with, by one of my favorite photographers, Serena Davidson.

If you like word prompts, try one of these:
- - "When our eyes met..."
- - "He looked up as I entered the room..."
- - "I overheard her say..."

Or, look at the photograph and write about:
What most catches your eye?
What makes you curious?
Are you struck by the whiteness of everything and what feeling does that evoke?
Are they indoors or outdoors?
What is the uniting factor for this gathering?
Is there a relationship between the two people in the foreground? If yes, what?

Thank you, Serena D, for another intriguing and alive photograph!

Light Bar 2007 Opening Night
by Serena Davidson

Sunday, October 12, 2008

so now is tomorrow ... or...

Actually it is the day after tomorrow, when I said I would be posting more about... Something!

I think that "something" was the activity on NaNoWriMo forums. There are over 20,000 participants so far and still adding more. People of all ages and from around the globe. Locally, there is a kick-off party planned a week before the midnight start on November 1st (which, boo hoo, I have to miss). Then there is the midnight write-in to get us primed and on our way - which I will be attending. I'm hoping to get in several hours of writing under the adrenaline of starting a big new project; from my count, I think there are about 25-30 people who've said they will be there, so far.

Even around the city of Portland, there are more localized write-ins scheduled. Various days and coffee shops and times will find NaNo writers huddled over laptops and even a few on paper and pen/pencil putting word to paper to reach that goal of 50,000 words by midnight on November 31st.

The forums are exciting. What a way to get everyone revved up, address concerns and questions, meeting others in your regions, get hints and tricks and guidance and even find a mentor. I have been doing some posting there, too. For me, it helps me keep the connection and the reason why I'm attempting this crazy feat, without my usual oh-why-did-I-say-I'd-do-this-thing fear-based self-doubt. It makes it seem possible again and there are people there to help.

I also learned that ML is "municiple leader" -- so the person or people who keep events going, energy high, and are the gate to and from the headquarters, especially during the actual month, I suspect.

I'm having a blast and I still don't know what or who I'm going to write about. I suspect that will remain until I sit down at 12:01 am on November 1st and start typing. And I am okay with that!

Friday, October 10, 2008


I pulled up my blog to post an entry about ... well, you'll see what about tomorrow. I was sidetracked by the date of my last post. Where did the week go? Geesh - I can't believe it's Friday already and I haven't posted since Monday.

It has certainly been one of Those Weeks. So I'm forgiving myself - but I didn't realize that I really hadn't posted in four days.

This week was filled with quite a bit of work, which began with 12 hours in two different jobs on Monday. I'm really not complaining. I feel fortunate to have the work coming my way right now, what with the economic situation and some people being unable to get an income source.

I also interpreted "Guys and Dolls" at Portland Center Stage last night. That was probably the major reason I didn't get to any posting until now. Translating the script, practicing with and without the other interpreters ... all of that is time consuming and takes a lot of brain power.

I've also been spending some time getting pumped up for NaNoWriMo. The forums are buzzing with plans and ideas and introductions. I will be participating in the first midnight write-in - and I will have to miss the kick-off party the week prior due to work.

I'm also trying to do some preparation and planning for next week's jaunt. I will be going to Alaska, where I learned it is already snowing. Cold. Since it is a conference, I need to have my best clothes. The up side of getting in shape is that I can wear some of my clothes from before, so my wardrobe is expanding without added expense - and a couple of them are nice business outfits - woo!. The down side - which is very minor - is that some of my favorite clothes don't fit right - still good for kicking around the house or working in the yard.

Monday, October 6, 2008

found: plaster excavation

Sometimes I run across a photograph or a piece of art or a performance piece which inspires me. I probably "run across" more of them than I notice, if I'm honest with myself. I do get lost in getting to my next assignment or trying to figure out when - or where - I will squeeze in lunch or dinner into my schedule as I'm navigating traffic and looking ahead on the road to see if I can continue as I am or need to find an alternate route.

That reads like an excuse for not being present in my life. For my moments - which may span days - of not practicing mindfulness. And it is what happens. I do get into a fog of what I have to do and ignore what is new and unexpected and even inspirational. The good t
hing is that those time periods are shorter and I notice that I've sunk into that pit of scarity thinking.

So, as I am crawling out of another of those holes, I found the above picture of the plaster excavation piece, Vessel, by Serena Barton. And, you see, I had already seen that piece before. I admired it, told her "good job" and then it went out of my mind. Completely. Until I saw it on her blog (you can read more about its creation and the process at Serena Barton's blog).

This is a very alive and rich piece of art. I see in it the inspiration for stories and poems, dense with landscape, character, and the mystery of storytelling which threads through language and holds it all together into a cohesive piece into which we can sink a
nd drift and dream.

Where does this piece of art take you and your writing?
hat kind of place is it?
Who (or what) exists there and what do they do?

Prompt: As I stood at the threshold ...
Vessel by Serena Barton
plaster excavation
c. 2008

Sunday, October 5, 2008

10k walk: update

The weather forecast was wrong. Which is not unusual for this part of the country at this time of the year; well, from now until February, or March. The meteorologists make their best guess with all of the radar, satellites, and other technology at their disposal - and then we see what happens. It did rain, pretty steadily, although not a downpour like the east side of Portland experienced. Which was good.

So now my workout buddy and I have experienced our first outdoor walk in the rain since we started this expedition to healthier lives. We got wet, we were a little cold in the beginning, and we didn't melt. Lessons learned: gloves would have been a good idea; I should have either worn my contacts (I was giving my eyes a breathing break and wore my glasses) or I should have remembered my hat with a bill which would have kept off most of the rain (it's hard to see with rain-splotted and foggy glasses); truly don't trust the weather report (my gut told me it would rain but all reports said no); do trust the trainer when she says to not wear cotton clothing when it will be raining (it holds in the moisture and dries very slowly). Oh, and don't go home and just put on a sweatshirt over the damp shirt because you're cold; it only makes you colder and the shirt (mostly cotton) will never dry!

I should have put this item first. And, because this is my blog and I can move things around before anyone sees them, I could do that right now and anyone who wanders here would never know. But, I'll leave it as is because that was my thought process.

The most important thing was that We Did It. And not only did we "did it" - we set a new record for ourselves, I believe. We walked the 10k in exactly to the minute: two hours! (Yes, there was someone who walked the entire marathon route in something like three and a half hours - but today WE did our best so far and, even with a potty pause, completed 10k in two hours.)

Yay for us!

And, no, I don't have a picture. I wish I did. When the marathon photographers get their pictures uploaded, I will see if we were lucky enough to be in any of them and add one on.

Yay me! Yay Brenda!

10k mayor's walk

We did it in two hours to the minute! (Calculating to the minute is close enough for us. We don't need to know the seconds -- which I understand is important to the runners.) It rained for most of it - despite the many weather predictions which said it would not rain and would merely be overcast. But it was good to get the first "wet" walk out of the way. Now I know what I need to do differently and I have a response to "what will I do when it rains?" Which is: walk. Or maybe opt for the gym if it is really wet / cold / windy. And buy a better jacket for walking - one that repels rain a little better and is not cotton so it will wicke away the moisture and dry out quicker -- my trainer told me that but I didn't expect it to rain today. Also make sure to keep a hat with a bill in the car. I wore my glasses today (instead of contacts; letting my eyes breathe for a day), which became wet and fogged up from my body heat. A visor would have keep my glasses drier and prevented fogging. Get a pair of lightweight, wicking gloves - it was cold when we started out this morning; and it will surely be colder when we do the Jingle Bell Run on December 7th.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Portland Marathon/Mayor's Walk

Here is the scenic tour video of the Portland Marathon route. My friend and I are not doing the entire Marathon on Sunday, but we will be doing the associated 10k Mayor's Walk. We're excited and ready to walk! And I must (not so) secretly confess that I am holding out hope it won't be pouring rain. Maybe we will walk the entire Marathon at some point in the future - but we're just happy we've made it to this point where we can do the 10k.

This month the physical stamina challenge; next month, the writing stamina challenge (NaNoWriMo)!

Portland Marathon preview

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

found: please don't vote

I heard that my stepson has decided to not vote. He doesn't believe in the system. So he is not going to vote. He believes something major has to happen for things to change. Could be; but that something major would be, well, major - like Everyone Not Voting. That is not going to happen in my lifetime; probably not in his. But I don't believe that not voting is the answer. I think that not voting is giving two to the other side - the person who sits next to you on the bus/subway/sushi belt/steakhouse who will vote against you and the vote you're not doing. I can point out four people from my family of origin, six if I add spouses, and more than I want to know right now if I add in spouses of nieces and nephews - who will be voting against everything I believe and my stepson believes. His vote would offset one more of their votes.

To get the video'a message, it is important to watch it all the way through.