Just some brief newsy things. I swear, at some point I really will offer some material with meat here. I am so very entranced with all the paradigm-changing gobbledigook I’ve been intaking lately, it’s gotta come out here at some point. And it will.
But for now, updatery:
As promised, here’s a link to my latest for the Hot Tub Crime Machine: “Sling Words on a Blank Page” is about techniques for sticking with the storymaking when the writing feels more like a slog than a romp. Head on over, and let me know (there or back here) what you think and what works for you.
The work-in-progress, Watchful Dragons: The Return of the Pelegrin, is going REALLY REALLY REALLY WELL. Writing this story feels more like taking dictation than anything else, as though it already exists in its entirety in my head, and the Muse is simply reading it off to me.
The Muse, in case I’ve never mentioned him here, is a chain-cigar-smoking degenerate named Clarence. I should write a post about him.
Well, I’ve missed a few weeks again of blogging here. It’s because late July through end of August kinda kicked my tushie. The kid was sick. I was sick. The two of us went on a last-minute mini-vay with my mom. The kid started 1st grade. (WHAT MANNER OF INSANITY IS THIS.) I got sick again during a weekend getaway to Eureka Springs. We had a huge storm that knocked out the power of over 100k customers in Oklahoma City, our house among them. It was out for two days.
In short, LIFE HAPPENS.
One of my new favorite philosophers, Peter Rollins (who looks like a mid-’90s-era rock star and I am here for it), says:
“The Gospel is: Life is shit, and you don’t have the answers, and that’s good news. Embrace your brokenness, your anxiety, and your unknowing, and you will find yourself happier. …The meaning of life is to set aside the questions and learn how to love.”
via “You Made It Weird with Pete Holmes,” Dec. 9, 2014
There’s a heckuva lot of good stuff to unpack there, and at some future point I will do some of that. Be forewarned, though: my version of unpacking philosophy will probably involve ripping the suitcase open, grabbing whatever’s nearest at hand, and flinging the contents about me with wild abandon. I doubt I will be folding and stacking things neatly, much less putting them away. It is going to be a lovely mess, and now you know.
That said, I’m not sure how much philosophizing I should do here. I mean, it’s kiiiinda on-topic? A lot of what I’m reading/listening to via Rollins and several other sparks of human brilliance is feeding directly into my WIP. So unpacking some philosophy will give some background for RotP?
I dunno. If you two inklings who still read this blog have been keeping up, you know that I don’t blog with much forethought these days. My number of spoons is limited. More targeted blog-planning takes more flatware than I have available to me. We’ll just have to see how it goes.
What else? Oh, um…so my entire workout routine has been trash for the past six weeks. Illness, out-of-townness, illness…all the suckage. In-between sicknesses, during the child’s first week of school, I was back at the gym. But that has been by the wayside for the past two weeks during second recovery and power outage hoopla.
And, as I told my therapist a couple weeks back, when one part of my health routine breaks down, the rest of my good habits follow soon thereafter. The downward spiral begins, I forget to give the Babadook a place at my table, and before I know it I’m down in the basement with him and he is eating me instead of my choosing what to feed him.
So. I have been spiraling again.
But I am fully aware of it and I know what to do about it.
Barring unforeseen crises (of which, let’s face it, there have been several of late), I ease back into my gym routine starting tomorrow. That will trigger eating healthy and taking my supplements. All of this will give me more energy and clearer thought in daily life.
Also, yesterday I painted for the first time in a year. And even though I am very definitely rusty, and I am not a huge fan of the results on the canvas, I do know that this will have been good for me. It’s triggering creative impulses.
Honestly, if I hadn’t painted yesterday, I probably wouldn’t be blogging right now.
This blog post is very stream-of-consciousness even by my standards.
Anyhoo…A Few Final Tidbits:
1. In spite of the whole teacher fiasco, the kiddo is doing GREAT. Academically, she is right where she’s supposed to be, if not a bit advanced. Socially, she’s enjoying herself. Behaviorally, her teacher is pleased with her. This morning, she read a 383-page Heidi Heckelbeck book (3 chapterbooks in 1) in one sitting. I love how much this kid loves reading.
2. Go read my first post for the Hot Tub Crime Machine: “How the Heck to Write a Murder Mystery?” My second one, as yet untitled, will concern how not to give up when writing the story gets tough. Not all of my Hot Tub writing will be how-tos, but that seems to be where I’m drawn right now.
3. Return of the Pelegrin, the aforementioned WIP, progresseth apace. I’ve slowed down quite a bit over the past month because SEE ABOVE. But I’ve reached a part of the story that’s an adventure-within-an-adventure, and it’s gonna be a lot of fun to write. There’s gonna be wild rides a-horseback, shadowy stalkers, maiming, ghosts, treachery, and, of course, the quintessential giant arachnid or six. Y’all’re gonna love it. I can’t wait for you to read this book.
4. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance is available on Netflix. I am five episodes in and completely entranced. The show does its own thing (rightfully so) while staying true to the magic and beauty and atmosphere of the film. No spoilers from me, and don’t tell me anything until I’m through Season 1!
5. Speaking of Netflix, I need She-Ra Season 4, Dragon Prince Season 3, Lucifer Season 5, and Mindhunter Season 3. STAT. I’m also watching Outlander and it is glorious.
The kid was sick. I was sick. We started collectively preparing for the summer to end and the new school year to commence. My mom took the kiddo and me on a last-minute weekend trip to Bartlesville, OK, where we visited Woolaroc, went antiquing (I bought my first piece of Frankoma Pottery!), and ate too much pizza.
“Woolaroc” is a syllabic abbreviation for “WOOds LAkes ROCks,” and it’s a museum and wildlife preserve. It was established back in the 1920s as a retreat location by Frank Phillips of Conoco-Phillips fame.
It was all incredibly fascinating and also concerning from a “hey, this is a whole bunch of cultural appropriation here.” That topic is an entire series of blogposts unto itself, if not a book.
In the meantime, as of this evening our “summer” will officially come to a close. The 6yo starts 1st grade tomorrow, and of course I am far antsier about this than she is — at least externally. We attended Meet-the-Teacher last week, an event during which we actually did not meet the teacher, because there isn’t one. The school found out the day before that the teacher who was supposed to be meetable at MTT was not, in fact, coming back to teach this year.
Instead, they’ve hired back a teach who retired from their school and will stick with the kiddo’s 1st grade class as a substitute until they can hire a fulltime 1st grade teacher. Naturally, we are not exactly thrilled about this. But it could be worse. They could’ve hired a sub without a teaching degree or a teacher with emergency certification. That would not be how I want my kid to start her school career. (Yeah, I know kindergarten is how the school career starts over here, but my German brain still wants 1st grade to be the line of demarcation. It is what it is.)
Also, I’m trying not to let anxiety get the best of me regarding all of this. I know that 6yo will be fine in the long run. But she does *not* like transitions. And this one just got a few extra hurdles dropped into it. I find myself in the eternal inner parental conundrum of HOW DO I BEST HELP MY KID NAVIGATE THIS.
It’s going to be FINE.
And, as my therapist reminded me a few weeks ago, FINE means “F***ed Up, Insecure, Neurotic, and Emotional.” So yeah, everything’s GREAT.
In other news, fellow author Bernard Schaffer has invited me to contribute to a new blog he’s starting with Tony Healey and Jack Soren: Hot Tub Crime Machine. I’m not a crime fiction writer, but I *have* dipped my toes in the water of crafting my own whodunit. Also, the Hot Tub blog is covering all sorts of mystery and thriller shenanigans as well, and I do have quite a few of those elements in my noveling arsenal.
I have sent my first post to Bernard and am currently awaiting feedback. I’ll holler here when it leaps into the hot tub. I think this is gonna be fun.
For now, there’s a 6yo calling for me to join her in playing My Little Pony, so I must away. TTFN!