Sunday, August 30, 2015

Poem - I'm Here

A few months ago, I woke up and needed to write something down.  Fortunately, I had pen and paper handy.  I hadn't actually looked at it since I wrote it, but something pulled it to my attention today.  As poetry goes, it's not great, but it's something that pretty accurately describes my mindset right now.

Hey, how's it going? What's up? How are you?
People checking in all the time each day.
Hey, how's it going? What's up? How are you?
Quick connections, touching base on the way.

Hey, how's it going? What's up? How are you?
The words are sincere, at least they sound that way.
But if you listen, if you look in their eyes,
You know there are things they don't want you to say.

How's it going? Pretty badly the panic's creeping in.
There are too many people, too much sound and light.
It's all pushing in, there's no room to breathe,
No way out, no escape, no place to run and hide.

What's up? My pain level - today's a bad one.
There are flares and aches and twinges.
Moving hurts, not moving's just as bad,
And the pills just add a fog to the din.

Hey, how's it going? What's up? How are you?
I know what you want me to say.
I won't lie to you - you deserve more than that,
But I'll only give some of the truth in my way.

Hey, how's it going? What's up? How are you?
I'll tell you the truth, if you want to hear.
Hey, how's it going? What's up? How are you?
With a shrug and a smirk, I say - I'm here.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Quick Kitty Update

Sadly, it's not good news.  Feina's liver isn't doing its job, and there isn't a ton we can do.  The vet gave her some sub-q fluids and a shot of vitamins, antibiotics and steroids to help her appetite come back, but it's basically, as Eric puts it, rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.  It's been exceptionally draining over here, as Eric and I have each broken down a few times, but we know she's not hurting.  She just probably won't make it much longer.

This is one of the first pictures of both Eric and Feina I received, back when Eric and I were long-distance, and it remains one of my favorites.

Friday, August 28, 2015

Some (Belated) Thoughts on Worldcon

I realize it's been a week since Worldcon ended, but it took me some time to organize my thoughts.  It was the first Worldcon I'd ever been to, and going so soon after GenCon was a little bit of a culture shock in some ways.

This year's Worldcon was held at Sasquan in Spokane, Washington.  My husband and I spent a large portion of Wednesday driving the 5+ hours to Spokane, and realized that the sky was getting more and more smoky as we went.  By the time we got to the hotel, the smell of smoke permeated everything.  Turns out, the winds from the wild fires had turned in just the right direction to blanket Spokane with smoke.  The entire city smelled like a barbecue.

The convention center was kind of spread out, which was nice - it never really felt like there were a ton of people crammed into one place, even in areas like the Dealers' Hall, and that's always been one of my biggest issues with conventions.  It helped that the convention attendance was quite small (at least, compared to GenCon), at around 6,000 attendees and 11,300 memberships sold.

The best thing about Worldcon in general was the fact that it was focused on books.  The Dealers' Hall was dominated by tables from bookstores and publishers, which meant that there were so many books everywhere you looked.  It was very dangerous to my pocketbook, to say the least.

There were several panels that I enjoyed, particularly since there was a North American Discworld Convention track.  Something about meeting with other Discworld fans and mourning the loss of Sir Terry Pratchett made the entire convention seem that much more comfortable.

The moment that sticks out the most to me from the convention happened during one of the Discworld panels, one on how Discworld changed our lives.  Eric went with me, even though he didn't want to say anything.  There was a woman there who, after a few of us had shared our stories, shared hers.  She mentioned that she had had some problems with addiction in the past, and that watching Sam Vimes battle those same demons had done her a great deal of good.  Then she said that she had reached a point where she was contemplating suicide, but what had kept her from taking action was thinking that she wouldn't get to read the next book.  She laughed to herself and said that she figured it was crazy, and I just told her that she wasn't alone.  The look on her face when I said that just stuck with me - it was like she never realized that there were others like her out there, who had fought fights similar to hers and had come out a bit worse for the wear, but still fighting.

Making that kind of connection is what going to conventions is about for me.  It means meeting my people, the ones who will understand when I say that I'm terrified to read the last Discworld book, because I know it's the LAST Discworld book.  It means spending time with people who don't mind if all I want or can do is sit in the corner and read, and will happily sit and read with me.  It means finding the family I didn't know I had.

Now that I've gotten the sappiness out of the way...I've been poking away at the book for a bit, and hope to get a little more done this weekend.  It may have to wait, depending on how things go with one of our cats.

Feina is about 15, and she's starting to feel her age.  She hasn't been eating all that much lately, and she's dropped some weight.  We'll be taking her to the vet tomorrow, so think happy thoughts for us, will you?

Monday, August 17, 2015

Second(ish) Quarter Check-In

We're just going to ignore the fact that we're halfway through the third quarter, and play catch-up.
  • Complete draft of book 2 of Paranormal Investigations, Inc.
    • Due: April 30
    • Q1 Status:  This one got put on the back burner, as this series is the one that feels too much like Maureen Johnson's Shades of London series.
    • New due date:  Uncertain
    • Q2 Status:  I started working on this again, but it's been slow going.
    • New due date:  Going to call this March 31, 2016
  • Complete draft of Church of Book
    • Due: August 31
    • Q1 Status:  I think I'll meet this goal, even though it isn't the same Church of Book it was when I first drafted these goals.  I've basically started from scratch, and it's my current Camp Nanowrimo project.
    • Q2 Status:  ...Not so much.  I'm still working on it, though!
    • New due date:  June 30, 2016
  • Win at least one of either Camp Nanowrimo or Nanowrimo
    • Due: November 31
    • Q1 Status:  In progress for the April Camp Nanowrimo
    • Q2 Status:  Failed both April and June Camp Nanowrimos, but I'm still going to try for November!
  • Complete edit of Paranormal Investigations, Inc.
    • Due: December 31
    • Q1 Status:  As this is on the back burner, it's being pushed back for now.
    • New due date:  Uncertain
    • Q2 Status:  See above regarding book 2.
    • New due date:  December 31, 2016
  • Submit at least one short story for publication
    • Due: December 31
    • Q1 Status:  Haven't even started anything regarding this yet.
    • Q2 Status:  I'm going to call this one complete (for "at least one"), based on the Pratchett memorial anthology submission.  That doesn't mean I'm not going to try to submit something else; just that I can at least mark one thing off the list
  • Complete draft of Words That Mean Something
    • Due:  December 31
    • Q2 Status:  New goal!  This is the one I started working on for Camp Nano in June.  I managed to get a rough outline together last week, so I'm hoping to get more words on the page over the next couple of months.
Well, it's not as exciting as I would have hoped, but at least there's progress.

Monday, August 10, 2015

New(ish) Project

I've decided to take the story I started for Camp Nano this summer and expand on it, because the idea's something that's interesting me more than things I've already got in the pipeline.  Of course, this means starting yet another project, and as you can see on the right-hand side of the blog, I have a few things started.

This is a story that I started writing out long-hand, which has been helping with regards to discovery-writing, but I'm not really comfortable with just letting things take wing on their own.  Apparently, I'm not able to just completely discovery-write.  I decided to do some outlining in Scrivener today, which has been helpful in getting my ideas in place.  I think I'm still going to draft long-hand, but I'm going to make sure my outline is handy - sort of like this:

Admittedly, this is how I tried to start last year's Nano, which didn't work.  I'm hoping that not having the time pressure on will help, but we'll see.  (As you can tell, I'm willing to try just about anything to get the writing going.)

How do you guys approach writing the first draft?

Friday, August 7, 2015

Post-Convention and Back in the Saddle

Well, Camp Nano didn't quite go as planned, but I'm still noodling with the ideas I came up with for it.  I think I'm going to keep going with it, writing it long-hand for the first draft - it's working well for getting the discovery writing juices flowing.

I survived GenCon, though this year's strain of Con Crud seems particularly strong.  Our booth was bigger than ever, and we were a highly sought-after destination.  It is awfully nice to be wanted.

Anyway, I'm hoping to get back into a "normal" routine again.  Of course, the week after next is WorldCon, being held at Sasquan in Spokane this year.  At least I'm not working this convention, so I'll have the opportunity to go to panels and possibly, just maybe, relax.