Friday, May 27, 2016

Nap time?

My kingdom for a nap. I have a blog post half-written, and it's going to need some work. Yes, dear readers, for once I plan on actually editing something before putting it up on the blog. I'm just as astonished as you are.

Meanwhile, something about traveling is throwing my system off something awful. Earlier this week I spent a couple of days in San Francisco for work, and I feel like I've just been dragging since I got back. I don't think I've ever been so grateful for a three day weekend.

For those who celebrate, happy Memorial Day early! For everyone else, happy Friday, and I hope you have a great weekend.

Monday, May 23, 2016

Solitude vs loneliness

So, this may come as a surprise to some of you, but I was not exactly what you could call "popular" growing up. Shocking, I know. It meant that I spent a fair amount of time alone, and I've always had a pretty small circle of friends. (You know who you are.) Not all of the time alone, however, was lonely.

I'm traveling for work for the next couple of days, and I just got in today (Sunday). After getting settled in at the hotel, I took myself out for dinner, and had an absolutely wonderful time. It wasn't the food - fairly average Thai food that desperately needed more heat, but very good tea - but being able to sit and read and people-watch on my own was just the kind of breath I needed to take.

The last few weeks have been stressful (more than usual, I mean), and I feel like I've been running a hundred miles an hour for way too long. Just taking a couple of hours to sit alone, reading and not worrying about everything around me, was what I needed.

I miss Eric, of course, and the kitties. I'll be happy to go home. At the same time, I'm really glad I'm getting the opportunity to revel in some solitude, rather than wallowing in loneliness. At least, not right now - tomorrow night might be a completely different story.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Book review - Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Now, I know I've already done a series review for the entire Discworld series, but this is probably the first time I've re-read Maskerade in years. It was the very first book in the series that I read, and reading it with more than fifteen years more life experience behind me, it's a very different read.

The friend who lent me the book in the beginning did so because a) he loved the series and thought I would, too; and b) he knew that I am a musical theater junkie, so would appreciate the gratuitous Phantom of the Opera references. At least, those were the reasons he told me originally. I believe now, there is a third reason - I am Agnes Nitt.

Agnes is the main character of the book, and she's frequently referred to as having a "lovely personality and very good hair". This, as many of us know, is the polite way of saying that she's not conventionally attractive - in her case (as in mine), because she's heavy. She has also gotten "a reputation for being calm and capable in a crisis." At the time in college when I was given this book, I had already established myself as being someone people could come to with their problems, or to figure out what to do when things went wrongs. Reading Agnes was a little like looking in the mirror.

I guess the biggest difference time has made for me is that, unlike Agnes, I don't really rail against the fact that I'm not the star of the show. I like being useful. I like being the go-to person when there are questions, and feeling like I can confidently give the answer. I enjoy getting to see behind the scenes how everything works (or doesn't) and finding ways to make it work better. But twenty-year-old me, reading this for the first time? I absolutely identified with Perdita, Agnes' "inner self." She gets to say all the things Agnes won't or can't, and there's nothing you can do about it. I longed for that kind of freedom, then.

I really enjoyed re-reading this, remembering (and wincing) at all the whininess that happens when you haven't figured out your place in the world and are determined to force yourself into something that doesn't fit. There's some excellent humor, of course, and lots of opera and Broadway references that I totally missed the first time through.

Monday, May 16, 2016

Aphantasia - no "mental images"

Recently, I read an article about how it's possible to live without the ability to imagine...well, anything, really. There are people who are incapable of visualizing things, or imagining sounds, or anything along those lines. For those people, the "mind's eye" is purely metaphorical.

Naturally, this made me wonder about the way my brain works and thinks. I frequently day-dream, occasionally in full-color video or pictures, but often just in sound and sound effects. I can distinguish various voices when they run through their paces in the soundstage of my mind. Hell, certain music shows up as different colors when I hear it.

The idea of not having any of that - of not being able to picture, say, my father's face or my mother's laugh, of not having a way to revisit memories without some form of memory aid - makes me incredibly sad. I realize that, in the article I linked to above, the writer was unaware of what he was missing, as he didn't know this was something the human brain was capable of doing. And maybe it wouldn't be so bad, if you didn't know.

What do you think? Would you prefer to not be distracted by the images and sounds in your mind?

Friday, May 13, 2016

I'm still standing

And now I've got the song stuck in my head. Oh, well.

As is becoming a habit at this point, I took a few days off after Camp Nanowrimo to let things settle in my brain a bit. I didn't intend to take this much time away from the blog, but alas, I cannot control everything that could conceivably keep me from my regular lunch/writing time.

On the plus side, I have a new medication and new (possible) diagnosis for the chronic Headaches of Doom that have plagued me for going on 15 years. The new medication has been working wonderfully, though it has some...interesting side effect. For one thing, it affects my sense of taste enough that most of my go-to beverages (Dr. Pepper in particular) taste absolutely foul. On the one hand, I will miss my Dr. Pepper. On the other, my waistline will not miss it. And if that (and the occasional bout of "why does my tongue feel like it's waking up?") is the worst thing I have to deal with, I'm going to call it a win.

In other news, I've decided that I want to submit a short story to Lightspeed Magazine's People of Colo(u)r Destroy Fantasy edition. I've been a big fan of all the Destroy series, and I would love to be involved. I have the beginnings of a story set in the Paranormal Investigations world, and I'm really liking where it's going.

So that's me! How are things in your worlds, friends?

Monday, May 2, 2016

April Round-Up and First Quarter Check-In

I've survived the first Camp Nanowrimo of the year, and I emerged victorious. Let's see how April went, shall we?

Words written YTD: 24,104 on one project (Paranormal Investigations)

Things accomplished in fiction: Oh, so very much. Alison finally made it to the big boss' office, and is seriously freaked out. It still goes better than anticipated. Next up: her second date with Jonathan, this time to a bookstore. What? They're geeks!

Writer-ly things accomplished: I won Camp Nano, I won Camp Nano...*happy dance* Things are still going well, and I've got some decent momentum going.

New books read: The Voyage of the Basilisk (Lady Trent Memoirs #3, which remains fantastic); Velveteen vs. The Junior Super Patriots (Seanan McGuire's take on superheroes, which is AWESOME); Rat Queens #15 (for I love a good comic about a group of butt-kicking women).

Old books re-read: The Eyre Affair, Lost in a Good Book, and the Well of Lost Plots (Thursday Next books 1-3, because I needed some comfort reading).

It actually saddens me a little, how few books I read this month. Of course, I was focused on writing more than reading this month, but still. I'd like to balance that a bit better.

And now, a quick look at the 2016 goals thus far:

  • Complete draft of book 2 of Paranormal Investigations
    • Due:  March 31, 2016
    • Q1 status:  I should really restate this as "fill in the gap between books 1 and 2 of Paranormal Investigations", and it's still in process.
    • New due date: July 31, 2016
  • Complete draft of Church of Books
    • Due:  September 30, 2016
    • Q1 status: I haven't even touched this one in a while. I'll keep the date as is for now.
  • Complete edit of Paranormal Investigations
    • Due:  December 31, 2016
    • Q1 status:  In process
  • Complete draft of one of the works started for a Nano
    • Due:  December 31, 2016
    • Q1 status:  In process, as Paranormal Investigations started as a Nano
  • Complete at least one Nano
    • Due:  November 30, 2016
    • Q1 status:  COMPLETE!
  • Submit at least one story for publication
    • Due:  December 31, 2016
    • Q1 status:  I have ideas, ever so many ideas...keeping the date as is for now.