Sunday, November 29, 2020
Saturday, November 14, 2020
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
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
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
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 .....
Saturday, October 24, 2020
Monday, September 21, 2020
I've been meaning to write something to put here. To not leave this hanging, seemingly unattended. It isn't. Or my writing isn't. As we navigate COVID-19 and fighting racial inequality, protests of Black Lives Matter and other anti-racists, as we learn and grow and - hopefully - change for the better, better good of all. I hope that we will remember and retain the lessons and the changes. I hope. I hope. I hope.
And I write.
And theatre is seeping in from the edges. Trying new platforms and approaches and new scripts. How to incorporate access. We learn and we try and we try better next time and next.
And I write.
And the government is such a mess. I cannot believe the overt rise of hatred and discrimination, which feels like they are thrusting us back 70 years, 80 years, maybe more. This is intolerable.
There is so much at stake right now.
The recent death of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. So much at stake. There should not be a new appointment until after the election. That is what they - the Republicans (I'll stick with that politer, public word, for here) - said when it was in an election year and Obama had the opportunity to appoint a new judge. But they barely waited for her body to be still before they (Republic....) jumped into their rhetoric and intent to streamline her replacement.
Hateful - they are very hateful and promoting racism and sexism and all the isms. And they are selfish and only out for their own.
This is why I have not written here. I am writing. A lot, still. Keeping in some workshops. Playing with new forms - which includes Comics. I am playing in online workshops where we get an hour with different Comic Artists and learn their approach and play with visual storytelling. It is a lot of fun.
We had some terrible wildfires here in Oregon; some are still burning, but containment is in process. A couple of weeks ago a few large fires billowed smoke and ash far; sometimes the entire state was under such a heavy blanket of smoke that we could barely see the sun as an orange or red small orb of light somewhere up high. The air was literally thick with smoke and ash and, amidst COVID-19 when the outdoors was supposed to be better in terms of decreasing the spread of virus, we were forced to stay indoors due to problems and potential damage of breathing the outdoors air heavy with smoke particles and ash. For about ten days, we were hovering in the Unhealthy to Hazardous Air Quality.
I write. I cry. I write. I work (part-time, I'm lucky I still get to work). I am having conversations about theatre and I got to interpret a script reading week before last, on Zoom, it was fun, it was so good to get my brain and hands on theatre again. I read about anti-racism and I engage in self-assessment and growth. I have a small cohort of close friends who rely on each other for information, news, support, confirmation that we are doing right by masks/distancing/washing/minimizing contact with others, and so on; it helps (and my "quarantine bubble" is still just my partner and me and one friend who has been in that bubble from the beginning). I write. I draw. I write.
And now I am going to retreat into my quiet, watching, witnessing, mode. Into my writing and experimenting with words mode. Because, yes, I am in another workshop. And it is going well.
Be safe. Wear your masks when around others. Wash your hands often and well. Social distance. Don't hate on people Think of others, not just yourself. VOTE in 2020 and, please, vote out the mess we have right now because if we don't, the mess will be unbearable. It is going to be a mess and a struggle either way until things get sorted out - I am 100% sure the transition will not be easy. But if we have any change of righting the wrongs and getting on a better track, we must replace the selfish, egotistical, power gluttons in the Administration.
Tuesday, July 28, 2020
|photo by Dot Hearn - Twin Rocks Reflection|
We're there now. (Although we are not yet out of the pandemic.)
If you're lucky enough to live in an area where there was a significant stay-at-home order early and for a longer period of time, you might not personally know anyone who has or who had it, or known anyone who died of COVID-19. Lucky you - you either live in an isolated community no one really visits or you maybe had a longer uncomfortable time of restrictions than some other states.
Today we have 12 states who are at critical level. I don't know in how many of those states health care providers are having to make decisions about who is too far gone with the disease to even admit to the hospital so they get sent home; where they have to triage people's chances for survival from COVID-19 to see who they can treat and who they can't; I do know at least two, maybe three. Where they are ordering refrigerated trucks to store dead bodies because the morgues are full.
So, please, just because you personally don't know anyone who has or had it, don't dismiss the pandemic or the current threat. The threat is real. Instead, be thankful that where you live, someone did their research and listened to experts and made decisions to keep people as safe as they could. That you live in a place where people care about each other and not just themselves, so they followed the mandates. (I realize that last sentence is a little Pollyanna-ish of me - but I *do* know many people who are doing the distancing and masks and keeping trips down as much to protect others as to protect themselves - and I do believe, most of the time, in the basic underlying goodness of people.)
Yes, in the 'early days' of COVID-19, some were hopeful that we'd be almost over it by now. We're not. We're nowhere near done with it - it's nowhere done with us. The summer heat is doing nothing to slow the spread, probably because too many people are doing nothing to slow the spread and are ignoring the warnings and ignoring recommendations intended to protect people from getting sick and to minimize deaths.
Rather than brush aside the recommendations, think about others as much as yourself: wear your mask properly when in public (indoor and outdoor), wash your hands well and frequently, avoid large gatherings (especially indoors), keep at least 6 feet between you and others. Simple. Is it fun? No. But please, do it.
Just because you don't personally know anyone who's had it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Say thank you to whatever entity, government, family, and/or friends who are considerate enough to also hold you in mind as they follow the recommendations to keeping the community where you live safe.
Believe me (or not, it doesn't matter), I look forward to the day when we can have live theater in venues with patrons in seats, to concerts large and small, to community gatherings where I get to meet new people, to face-to-face writing workshops with writers and facilitators I love. Zoom and online events help fill the void, but they don't fill my creative heart in the same way. It's a better connection than no connection, but it is not the same. But I'd rather wait until it's safe(r) rather than risk being a carrier to someone I respect and care about.
We are actually all in this together. As someone said earlier (and I'm sorry I don't remember who it was) : we are not all in the same boat due to economic and racial disparity, but we are all on the same turbulent ocean right now.
Saturday, July 18, 2020
... I have another concern regarding our current status ...
Saturday, May 23, 2020
Belmont Inn, Portland OR - art on boarded windows.
photo by Dot. May 2020
So much and nothing to say. As life continues and the world continues to turn and yet we are pausing - some of us - we are watching - some of us - we are present - some of us. And yet we are holding back, holding on, waiting, wondering: where is it safe to go? who is safe and who is not? how long before people feel safe? before I feel safe?
Safety has a new measure.
Safety being a measurement after 60 - 80 % of the people have had the virus and have antibodies. Herd immunity. Like cattle, like livestock, measure us in percentage of illness survival.
How do we quantify the percentage of dead? How many dead before it's safe to return?
What are we returning to? More accurately, what are we phasing in and will we know if it's working before it's too late? I mean, pretty much everyone agrees that phasing in, that reopening, is going to increase the number of infected and the numbers who become critical and yet we must move forward. So how do we count the infected? those hospitalized and some in ICU? the dead?
So much more to say and yet, nothing. Nothing which hasn't be already said.
This pandemic and our response to it is not about me or you. It is about Us. This is an Us situation. Not an Us versus Them. Everything which I do has the potential to affect You - your health, your family's health, your neighbor's health, which affects your health and my health and my family's health.
I know this is hard for the "have it your way" culture this nation has worked hard to build. I also know that this pandemic calls for respect and cooperation and acceptance of shared responsibility.
I also know that we are in this pandemic together, absolutely, and that does not mean that everyone is being treated equally or affected equally. Repeated stories have shown that some groups of people are suffering more than others - and I don't mean that in terms of who gets sick or in ICU. The stories are there, if you look. Racism and classism are present in how people and communities are affected.
I live in the last county in Oregon to enter into Phase I or reopening; the projected date is June 12th, if all goes well.
Waiting. Watching. Breathing.
Friday, April 10, 2020
Saturday, March 21, 2020
We've just been given the warning that we are on the brink of a "stay home" order from the Governor and the Mayor and the County Chair. We are currently under a "strict social distancing" order and that was upgraded earlier today (Friday, March 20, 2020), with the details to be released next Monday.
My body has many words inside, my head and hands haven't yet found the words to move them onto the page - virtual and paper, or in the form of pictures. Hybrids.
Every day, several times every day, the news changes.
We are so far into this pandemic now that I check not only the date of an article or an announcement, but also the time. Something which was written or announced two days ago is old news. If it was yesterday, there is probably an update, but there may or may not be major changes. Then double check that, even if it was earlier today, there is not something new.
Early on Friday I received what I am jokingly calling my "hall pass." Jokingly because this is all very real and it also feel unreal. Surreal. My "hall pass" is an official government paper from my work, which in the case of a curfew or actual "shelter in place"/lock down, identifies me as essential emergency personnel so that I can drive to work when we're supposed to be staying home. I have my official document and my work badge and it allows me to be on the streets and not be arrested or get a ticket. Surreal.
My very full calendar of theater and meetings about theater has emptied, leaving my my "essential emergency personnel" work and a few reminders. Even my provider appointments were cancelled or rescheduled, one person is doing phone or video calls. I had three shows and one event cancel in two days - and just realized that was only one very long week ago. Shows dropping off one by one - some I was scheduled to interpret, some I was coordinating, some I was consulting. A few more went away this week. There are three or four which have not yet cancelled but I expect they will - or be postponed. One show I was involved with is postponed until next fall; another show I was going to watch (not work) is postponed indefinitely. Theater is one of my passions and my fuel and a creative outlet - now gone.
So when Ariel Gore posted that she was doing a Social Isolation Writing Intensive online, I signed up. I'd just lost a bunch of work and, although my calendar has opened up, the financial hit won't start until 30 - 45 days. So I did it. I clicked register and paid. And I'm writing.
And wondering what the next day or the next few hours will bring.
I am not in a panic. I am aware. I am keeping anxiety at bay. I don't know how long this minimization of activity will last and when or how we will return to normal; and I am completely aware that "normal" is relative and life will be different - but I don't know how.
A time of upheaval. Changes many of us didn't predict or couldn't predict, but it's here. Now. Not some dystopian future. Now.
Wait. Listen. Be Aware.
In the words of the Oregon Governor, "stay home and stay well and save lives."
Tuesday, February 25, 2020
Checking in, again.
Again, I could write that I'm busy. I am. I am busy a lot.
Am I still writing? Yes.
Have I made any progress on the WIP? No. But I have written a lot, several times every week; not every day. All of that is okay.
I still don't know what I want this space to be. What to write. What it's for.
I don't want to let it go but I don't have a clear path. Which is funny, because this is pretty much the topic I'm working on in my general life (what do I want? where do I go from here? and so on). This is also - in a way - the topic of the current writing workshop I'm in, "Experiments in Story Structure" with Ariel Gore. We are exploring non-traditional forms of writing stories, which aren't really non-traditional, but they have new names and are described in new ways; but many of the examples are from what have been considered "traditional" stories.
I am still writing.
I will continue to write.
I am still working (of course) and I am fortunate to have a part of my work be creative and inspiring and something I love (theatre).
I am in need of some down time (note to body: no, I do not need to get sick to get down time; I will make time without it - please and thank you).
I have been doing a lot of writing, actually. The most recent workshops I've done were the 14-day winter intensive with Ariel Gore, and then the current workshop (also online) started about 4 days after the end of the intensive. So - writing. Yes. Keeping it on the "front burner." I also like a lot of what I've written.
This week I have a couple of uncommitted days, where I have a little space to breathe before jumping into March. Which is going to be one of the super busy and super creative months - starting with interpreting the Oregon Poetry Out Loud (high school recitation) competition, and the month includes mentoring for one play and watching a couple of other interpreted performances that my only role is as coordinator. Full, busy, creative month.
I am wondering about this space - what do I want it to be? Not for the first time. I liked the times when I posted prompts, when I shared more resources, shared articles and advice from others. I may bring some of that back. Maybe have some regularly scheduled writings to post.
Time to go back and look at my original intentions and see what still holds and what has changed.
Thursday, January 16, 2020
Ariel Gore is, herself, a talented and creative writer. She is also a fantastic workshop/class facilitator, mentor, editor, creative human. All of the stories in this book, be they in the form of fiction, memoir, or poetry, sprang from prompts in classes, or from her Saturday writing prompts (available for a $5 per month subscription).
I also was delighted to be an editor for one of the chapters. This gave me the opportunity to work closely with some of the other writers and their creative visions.
This is a beautiful book and it is available at LiteraryKitchen.net. This link takes you directly to the book's page on the website; but I encourage you to look around at what else is there.
Wednesday, January 1, 2020
Short and sweet, because I don't make New Year Resolutions. But it is the beginning of not only a new year, but a new decade, so I want to start it on a good note.
The year 2019 was a challenging year in several ways. It was a wonderful year in many ways. Lessons learned, friendships strengthened, writing skill and production increased, theatrical life blossoming and taking off in exciting new directions. Life is good and it is a new year.
I will remember the goodness of 2019 and I will remember the lessons and move forward.
I started 2020 today with writing. That felt really good. I did good work and I wrapped up feedback from a wonderful two week writing intensive workshop with Ariel Gore in the Literary Kitchen. Starting the year with an intention of writing more and completing more writing projects.
I look forward to the new of the decade, the new of the year.
New year, new decade, refreshed creative soul.