Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Hair Cares

I got my hair cut today.

I know there are people who flip out at the thought of more than just a trim - but I'm so very much not one of them. Short of shaving my hair totally off (something that certainly appeals to me some days), I've tried just about every length. I'm always game to try something different.

Don't get me wrong, I dread going. I feel as out of place as possible in a salon - a place devoted to style and beauty. But a few times a year I suck it up and go in. Because as much as I feel like a giant neon sign points me out as a misfit while I'm there, every haircut feels like a mini-revolution to me. A temporary reinvention.

I've had stylists want my husband's approval before cutting off hair from MY head. I've had stylists who were kind, who were not, who put me down just to sell me products to 'fix' my defects. Now I go to a very sweet woman in a zen-themed place who cannot remember my name if her life depended on it despite being typed on a piece of paper she pulls out for each appointment. But she's always kind and has never made me feel like I'm a sore thumb.

By the time I leave, having dodged the low-grade sales pitches and push for scheduling haircuts for the next 3 years of my life, I feel like any other person who walks out of a salon and plays with their hair (or the lack of it) with a stupid grin on my face. And I know in a day or two that will fade as I'm confronted with the reality that there's no way in hell I can come close to recreating the style she gave me at home. Even then I'll still enjoy the change, my own personal mini rebellion, and scold myself for putting off going for so long.

Thursday, April 26, 2018

Traveling Writers

It's a bit of an exciting time in our little writer's group. Everyone's made travel plans for various destinations (Europe! Islands! Massive Road Trip!) for the coming months. 

In true writer fashion, we all have different travel techniques. Pantser - very little planned, take each travel day as it comes. Planner - And of course, the fence-sitter of them all - the hybrid. A mix of planning and go with the flow, having a decent framework to depend on and running amok around it. 

Whether it's writing or planning a trip, when I get bogged down in details or when I'm struggling to work out a logistical issue, I've found it really helps me to go off-screen. Pen to paper, having pages to move around and scribble on helps me when I just can't figure something out. 

Doing this made my trip possible, despite of/in addition to plenty of well meaning travel apps. I broke down and tried it out when I just couldn't figure out an important plot point writing-wise recently as well. A nerve-wracking conversation (man, I still feel like an idiot discussing anything I'm writing with anyone) followed by a quick dissection of the problem, pertinent info and a piece of paper and voila - a workable bit of something to get back into the sandbox with. 

Thursday, April 12, 2018

A prat's fall

It was only a matter of time before it happened.

Almost 6 months after breaking my foot, I slipped. Healing foot smashed into wall, scar side out naturally. I landed with remarkable luck by going down on my other knee and staying upright from the thighs up. My husband heard this go down and called out to check what the noise - something falling from a shelf he thought - was. It took me a minute to answer because after the initial "Oooph", I was slowly taking stock of what hurt, putting off wiggling my foot and toes with dread.

In the end, everything's more or less fine. Took me a little longer to get up than I'd like because I didn't want to put too much (more) stress on the foot.

A week on, yeah, it's a little pissy. The area around the scar is tender to the touch like it hadn't been for more than a month. The rest of my foot bristles when I'm up on it for a while.

I have to admit, I'd been bracing for what happens when my natural klutz instincts kicked in following my foot injury. The idea of being out of commission once more, of another break, has made me wary.

But it happened. And I survived. I might need to go back to icing my foot and using my walking boot off and on for a bit, but sigh of relief, it's okay.

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

April Blogging

It's April - time for all sorts of non-nerd things I'm sure, but in recent years it means the options of Camp NaNo and Blogging A-Z open up.


I'd already decided on no more Camp NaNo last year and the idea of the blog challenge this year isn't doing a whole lot in the way of motivating me. I have considered trying a daily blog prompt (regardless of month) without the A to Z theme, but as with so many things at the moment, I just haven't gotten around to it.

I haven't had a whole lot in the way of blog posts lately, as I've begun to feel repetitive. Complaining about stress. Family wackiness. Writing highs and lows. I've been wondering if this repetitive thought process (aside from probably indicating my lack of imagination and a probable brain dysfunction) isn't going to work for a blog. Or is this sort of part of the low-key blogging realm? I'm not trying to build a brand. I'm not reviewing products for free crap, internet fame or kickbacks. I don't hashtag the ever loving snotweazels out of everything I post. Maybe not agonizing over original content and thousands of hits and discussing the same kind of stuff month in and month out happens in most non-commercial blogs.

With a lack of info - and a lack of motivation to skim other blogs - I've pondered shuttering the blog. I've kept it going a bit longer than I expected if I'm being honest. Then again I've noticed that despite the recent drought, I still think about it, still mull over potential posts and most of all, I still haven't shut it down.

Thursday, March 15, 2018


I've not taken my laptop out of my bag for the past week. *cue internal scolding* Please, like it ever turns off.
So I haven't been creative but I am still A-okay with my productivity. There is much planning and research going on. And none of it writing related. Genealogy. Travel. Other interests that I can talk about until I lose my voice.
And I'm steadily making my way through a stack of library books. I'm a little worried right now though. I just finished a book I found to be pretty entertaining. I usually have a hard time getting into anything new once I'm so completely consumed by one particular book. Fingers crossed something in the rest of the stack manages to keep me going. And for the record, Ready Player One (firmly on my TBR pile long before the movie was being promo'd out the wazoo) by Ernest Cline was a solid 4 1/2 stars in my book. Most likely because it hits in my nerd & 80s soft spots simultaneously. It's not flawless, but man did I enjoy the ride enough not to mind.
How's everyone else handling pollen season? I'm on 2 strong anti-histamines and my face is perpetually itchy (like I keep walking through asbestos) and my sinuses are having fits.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Marching Along

Some days (*cough* months), you've just got to put something down and keep going. Not all posts, scribbles, writing days are gold star worthy.

My thoughts are best summed up as a handful of sand tossed to scatter across a stone floor. Good luck chasing all that down.

I'm quiet. I'm observing more. I can feel a difference in my mood. All my interests are intact. Sleeping patterns, caffeine aside, are as usual.

And I can't exactly put my finger on what's got me this way. Maybe it's a seasonal thing. Maybe it's excitement about upcoming plans. Maybe it's a low bullshit tolerance and a learned response to circle my internal wagons against other folks' issues. Maybe it's life trying to resettle after a series of upheavals and it's just not as smooth a process as it used to be.  Maybe it's all of it.

Maybe it's the cold, hard realization that it's going to be almost a month before another round of holiday chocolate goes on clearance again. This seems most likely. Watch. Wait. Buy all the good discount candy.

Scattered brainwaves aside, I'm in the middle of 5 books - all average or better save one that's a little dry. And as far as movies, I've watched back to back movies that celebrate women - one a woman's journey to (forgive the cliche) blossom into who she wants to be and one that promotes women as equally capable as men at technology, battle and just all around on the same footing.

Saturday, February 3, 2018

What have I learned?

When I finished writing my first manuscript, it didn't occur to me that it would take so ridiculously long for me to repeat such a feat. Hell, I could probably start knocking two or three of these out a year. 

Ugh. Just... ugh. 

Because in reality, I probably could have. Or at least one a year. You get the idea. Explanations, excuses, blah blah blah. But I didn't. Regardless of reasons, I didn't. That's the bottom line. 

So now I find myself nearing a wrapping up point on my first large-scale world building exercise. Otherwise known as the on-again-off-again project I've been working on for the past few years. 

And this is so much less smoothly done as the first go 'round at writing a book start to finish, even ignoring the time spent on it. Because my first manuscript? Written in less than a year - probably a matter of months. I've already mentioned how long I've been working on this patchwork mess. 
The first time, I learned I could do this. I could follow an idea through from blank page to The End. An important lesson to quell the nagging voices in the back of my head that I could not. Commercially viable or locked forever away, it was possible. But it was possible mostly in a vacuum. The demands on my time then were such that I could literally write all night, sleep during the morning and get up in the afternoon to handle whatever daily life needed to be attended before returning back to my private space for another writing marathon. 
I need a cigarette just thinking about it, and I don't even smoke.

The first time around, a much more straightforward and less fantastical story was written in simple linear, streamlined order without having to worry too much. This time? About halfway through I realized I'd left out an important theme. And despite a good friend's suggestion that there are no accidents, this leaves a gaping hole that must be addressed in rewrites. 

And that's okay. Or I realized it was after the initial WHAT-HAVE-I-DONE panic subsided. 

Because perhaps the overriding message I'll end up taking away from this writing experience (after relearning I can still do this) is damage control - or more nicely put - how to keep going when it's gone off the rails. 

And world building? I suspect with a decent rewrite period and solid edits, won't come across as nail biting as it felt fleshing out at the time. Which is another great reminder - it all sucks to begin with anyway. Unless you've written 50 published novels (or maybe this persists anyway), it all starts out as something that needs to be refined and edited to get it polished. There may be writers out there who get it right the first time, but I'm okay not being one of them. Or rather, I'm making my peace with it.
I had a bit of an artistic meltdown last night, crippling doubt over capability, quality, and the like. My husband, not exactly known for his empathetic skills, rose to the occasion as I confessed that there isn't anything special about me. 

"Of course there is."

"You think I'm special because I take care of you. It's not the same."

He stared at me silently for some time, which generally means he doesn't really have anything else to add to the conversation. To my surprise this was not the case.

"I know you're special. You are not a little fish in a big pond like you think."

"You're just saying that because you dream of me being a bestseller so you can be a kept man." This is a running joke as old as our marriage. 

"That's not it. I know you're special. All the people you've known in your adult life have made you feel like a small fish because of their issues. You may not be the big fish in your writing right now, but it's coming. I know it."
What else have I learned? That my husband is long overdue for me to bake him his favorite cookie. And that he's pretty damned awesome. I knew that anyway, but it's a hell of a reminder.

I already knew I was needy, so there's no big reveal there. By default, most writers tend to be. Some of us just try to keep quiet about it to give the illusion of being collected. Or because I'm embarrassed. 

I continue to learn that I still have work to do. I'm not at a point where I can just regurgitate what's in my brain up and onto the page with little muss or fuss. Or angst. 

And now that I'm nearing the end of this first world building business, I think it's time to try reading a few book series that take world building and turn them into 1,000 page monsters a piece. Because I just know that I've got something a little bit bigger, a little bit grander than the typical 300-ish page books lurking deep within me. Don't get me wrong, I've got more of those in my depths that I could tackle. But I also have a wild hair pushing me to get into something completely engulfing. 


Hair Cares

I got my hair cut today. I know there are people who flip out at the thought of more than just a trim - but I'm so very much not one o...