Friday, August 31, 2018

Sometimes My Job is to Not Work

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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!)
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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!


Published!


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

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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.


Thursday, May 17, 2018

Still Editing and More

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I always think I will get more done when I have some down time than I can realistically do. There are many reasons, but I'll start with the most obvious: I think I am SuperDot and overestimate what can be done in a particular period. I also don't always account for the unexpected. The "unexpected" can be something wonderful, and it often is, but it is still outside of what I had planned.

Everything is good. Truly. I'm working on interpreter information packets for next season, which is an exciting and interesting process. I have been working with an editor on a piece I submitted for publication - they are interested but there are some edits; I just finished round three this morning (the editor is wonderful and her feedback is helpful). And I am still working on manuscript edits - the by-hand edits, which are time-consuming but a necessary and important part of my manuscript process; I catch some things I wouldn't on the screen and some of the rewrites have to be done by hand because there is no way for me to do what I do on the screen and have it accessible for me. I think I just hit the halfway mark on the hand edits.

So, before I tackle another level of a very messy and time consuming project, I will share this.

Where I am remembering being, in this mental and physical space:



Where I am actually and the task I am tackling:


and this second task, which I may or may not get to today


It's all good and necessary.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

Another "Win" Under My CyberBelt


I realize I didn't write about this at all during the process. And that's okay. It's just different.

I was going in many directions in April, with new projects and new contacts and some exciting things in the works. Vague, I know. But some of what I've been working on is available in Facebook: some exciting theatrical/performance/cultural events. I was also taking a short story writing online class/workshop with Ariel Gore. And I am in the final stages of a month-long interpreting psychopharmacology workshop online through CATIE, On top of my regular interpreting and theatre and life.

But this April I decided - pretty much last minute - to jump into the Camp NaNoWriMo lake. I just wrapped up another session of the three-month manuscript workshop (online) with Ariel and transitioned from that via an in-person Spring Seasonal f2f workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch and Domi Shoemaker immediately into the short story workshop and the CATIE workshop.

I'm grateful and glad I did it - even though I cursed at it more than once and even though I had some flat spells.

Oh - I forgot to say that one big difference between November NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo is that at Camp, you set your own goal. It can be a word count or page count or poem stanzas or - my choice - pages edited. I definitely edited more than I probably would have without going to Camp. It kept it on my radar and it kept me accountable to do some.

So - my number of pages goal for editing my manuscript was met! I am about 1/4 of the way through the hard copy edits of the current draft. For me, this is a necessary and very time-consuming process.

Thank you, NaNoWriMo, for another successful month of accountability as a writer.

And thank you to my in-person accountability writing buddy who nudged me towards doing this and who kept prodding (asking) how it was going, as well as spending some hours writing together.

Now. To Bed. It is Very Late (or very early, depending on your perspective).
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Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Writing Murmuration

I am in a sweet spot of writing. I get to be in workshops/classes with the writing mammals who give me breath and space and hold each other close and tell truths.

I just completed a twelve-week online manuscript writing workshop with Ariel Gore in The Literary Kitchen. This was my second time in that class and I am solid in my book now; moving it forward. I can feel in my body that this project is right and it will get done.

Then, just to make sure I keep on with the edits, I signed up for Camp NaNoWriMo. There are many differences between November NaNoWriMo and Camp NaNoWriMo (there is one in April and one in July), but one of the big ones is that in Camp, you set your own goal. This is only my second time in Camp N and this time I set my goal to editing 90 pages in the 30 days. I know that doesn't sound like much, but I am working with the printed manuscript and editing by hand. If I find the editing and rewriting goes faster, I can increase my goal.

Sunday started an online Short Story writing workshop/class with Ariel in the Literary Kitchen. It kicked off on Friday with signing up for the boards and a pre-assignment. This one is three weeks and I am already loving it.

Then, this recent weekend I spent Friday night through Sunday late afternoon at the Corporeal Writing Center with an in-person Spring Seasonal Revision workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch and Domi Shoemaker and is was also magic. I need the balance of online and in person - and I need to have time in person with my Corporeal Writing tribe. And the Lidia & Domi infusion.

I am swimming in the words of the writers I get to share time with online and in person. I feel sated and wanting more simultaneously and my writing is flowing for it.

Last night I watched a video of a starlings murmuration and I was mesmerized. I was not able to find the exact video to share, but this one is close. The murmuration looks like how I felt this weekend. the gathering, forming, reforming. spreading out and coming back together; in sync and yet many individuals of the whole. Rise and fall and dropping back quietly, efficiently, whole, into a place of rest before returning to the next part of the journey.


Sunday, March 11, 2018

Swimming in Words

I'm still writing. Still in the online manuscript class with Ariel Gore and it is fantastic and progress is being made. I have had some major insights and rewrites and this project is getting done!

photo by Domi Shoemaker
I'm preparing to interpret some theatre. Which is awesome. The first is an incredible, new, vibrant musical of "Scarlet" - The Scarlet Letter from Hester's perspective.

The last two weekends I interpreted poetry competitions (high school student reciting published works of Poets from across the ages). That is always an inspirational and exciting event. And our amount of preparation is huge - but I love it.

And I'm writing. At the end of this month I have a Corporeal Writing workshop and boy, do I need that infusion, too. I've haven't been in a workshop with Lidia Yuknavitch since last summer and I am looking forward to this one (it's one of the seasonal series). I did have a workshop with Brigid Yuknavitch last fall and that was so, so good.

And. That's what I'm doing. Interpreting, writing, theater. I have written the bones of a couple of essays, but there is much to go before those are done. But it's a start so that I won't lose those thoughts.

And I'm wondering what to do with this blog. I'd like to revise it, but right now, I have plenty to do and not the same amount time. It's all good and the balance will come.

Right? Right.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Moving the Manuscript Forward

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It's been a while since I've written about my writing, about the process I'm in.

I have been writing quite a bit. I started the winter manuscript class with Ariel Gore strong, writing and editing every day. As theatre commitments increased, the writing decreased.

The good news is that writing never fell off. It just slid farther down the time scale as I prepared for two plays.

Then, this last week, I had no theater. No shows to watch for preparation, no translations to work on, no rehearsals. So, good news, more time for writing. These past three days I have done a lot of editing. I even enjoyed the editing process, which is new. My new system is working and - surprise - I am not hating editing! It has felt good to be in the flow of editing. And, while I initially was giving myself a hard time about it, I stopped that nonsense, too.

This project is going to the next level. I am taking it to the next level. While I am not going to get this draft done before the end of the workshop, I have already made significant progress and am going to continue. In a couple of weeks I have three weeks of intense interpreting work (on top of my regularly intense VRS work, smile) but right now I know that I will keep working on this. The amount of time will decrease a bit, necessarily, but I will not be stopped.

Taking this book to the next level. And I'm having fun!


Monday, January 22, 2018

Feeling Grateful

Last weekend I attended an in-person workshop with Ariel Gore, right here in Portland Oregon, It was a wonderful group a writers. We gathered in one participant's home, where we shared pieces of our projects and new writing. We played with editing in Ariel's useful, magical, inspiring "editing stations." We shared drinks and food provided by our kind and generous host. We talked about our writing and our process, about publishing and keeping on writing even when it gets difficult.


Two of the days were a little early for me; but I know that I'm the one with a non-traditional schedule and it was all fine. I survived. Now I'm getting back to my regularly scheduled schedule.


And I feel refreshed and rejuvenated.


I am still in the online three-month manuscript workshop with Ariel, which is also going really well. I am making some amazing progress on editing this draft, with a new deadline to get this thing done. To get it to where I can take it to the next level, meaning earnestly working on getting the book out into the world.


All this while working on a couple of wonderful productions: "Weaving Women Together" at Portland Playhouse (interpreted performance is this Wednesday 1/24 at 7:30 pm) and "2.5 Minute Ride" at Profile Theatre (interpreted performance will be Friday 2/2 at 7:30 pm). Both of these have strong scripts and strong, skilled actors to match.


Writing is happening every day, which was another goal with the manuscript workshop. It feels good.

Friday, January 12, 2018

Collage for my WIP

This is another assignment from the manuscript workshop with Ariel Gore.

Oh, first. My WIP has a new title. This change feels so right and it has injected the project and me with new energy. This is just what it needed. I'm not going to share here, yet, but I will. For now, the title I've been using has served me well and gotten the project to this point, but I have officially changed the name.

I also have the beginning and end of the book. It's not as easy as it sounds and has been one of the struggles for me. Where to start and where to stop. I've had all these pieces and possibilities. But now I know how it's going to go. Not the exact order of everything, but I do have the main thread and which stories belong in that.

This is what I made for the optional (but not really) assignment. This is a collage showing the feel of the project right now. This is radically different than the one I made last summer with the old title.

I am excited to be making movement in the project.


Friday, January 5, 2018

Pre-workshop Assignment

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The manuscript workshop officially starts today. We've had a few things to do, including an assignment, before the workshop begins - which I love. To me it feels like "priming the pump" and these things do help to be ready to jump into the work we're doing: which is our manuscripts.

One of the tasks was to write an introduction.

I know! I feel like I should be able to sit down and write one up in a couple of minutes. As often as I have to do it - as an author/writer, as an interpreter, especially as a sign language interpreter. But it is almost always a difficult task for me. Being a shy introvert, putting myself - especially who-I-really-am - out there is not easy. I also like to make each bio, each introduction, relevant to the place or event needing it and to where I am in that moment of time in relation to that event.

I did write my introduction, which included a realization about me and writing. And, honestly, it's the first time in a long time I've felt this; I mean that I feel this through the core of who I am and there  is no hesitation.

I've been writing a long time, most of my life, with a few dry years sprinkled here and there. But this is a permanent thing and I no longer doubt that I am a writer. 
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