In which I reflect

I’m back from Chicago with a suitcase of laundry, a new handbag, and for the first time, visual records of the place that has come to mean so much to me. If I’m counting correctly, this visit was my eighth time attending CIROBE, the Chicago International Remainder and Overstock Book Exhibition. Over the years I’ve become quite attached to the city, most particularly the park across from the Hilton, where I sometimes run; the Art Institute, which houses Caillebotte’s Paris Street, Rainy Day; and the lakeshore in general, so superior to the same area of Toronto. More than the city, though, it’s the people. I am privileged to work with people so intelligent, friendly and well-read. Between this group and the people of VP, I’ve been in exalted company lately, and I have come away both humbled and encouraged. You, my friends, colleagues and mentors: each of you is something I aspire to be, and I am honoured to have so many of you in my life. […]

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Sun goes down, temperature drops

With the turning of the year I’m entering my most productive phase, in my day career, my writing and even in my random personal business. This time is the best time to do all of the things I normally avoid, like making medical appointments, getting my pants hemmed, and painting that bit of trim I never finished during the last reno (okay, I actually still haven’t done that one, but it might happen). A tally of what I get done in a typical day now would seem insurmountable during a day in the opposite phase of the year. Why? Well… it comes down to sleep. When the days get shorter, my circadian rhythm seems to be disrupted, and I adapt by sleeping less, for a while; or at least by feeling more awake during my waking hours. On the weekend, 1028 words on the Pie Story, which still has no name–though it is about to have a sex scene. As interested as I am in writing the sex scene, I’m afraid Thanatos wins out over Eros tonight: I am even more interested in writing a scene for the Not-a-Werewolf book, a scene which came to me in a dream the […]

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Sisyphus finally gets a cup of tea

I don’t mean to imply that the Day Career is generally Sisyphean. But at the moment it’s requiring 12-hour days just to stay afloat, and the backlog hasn’t really decremented, and the results aren’t visible to anyone who can’t see all the crossed-off items on my gargantuan to-do list. At the end, or beginning, of those 12-hour workdays, I seem to be managing to post to the photo blog and this blog, managing to write the Pie Story, and managing to plant the seed file. I haven’t yet managed to critique anyone else’s stuff, catch up with any of my groups’ posts, or most importantly, make any progress on either of my novels. I’ve also managed to hurt my best friend’s feelings inadvertently, neglect my husband, overcrowd my social calendar and skip almost all of my workouts. I think it’s time for some ruthless decisions about just how I spend the coin of my days. […]

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The Pie Story, Continued

575 words on the Pie Story, which, you will be relieved to hear, is not actually going to be titled in Esperanto. Apparently I default to a particular setting for my short stories–this is the fourth or fifth piece I’ve set in the same locale. It does mean something to me, that place. I saw an eclipse there. It’s discomforting to know that all my dark days are so unforgotten. I never think of them, but I write of them often. […]

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Days grow shorter

So short, in fact, that despite feverish activity all week, I am further behind than ever. And the economy is NOT helping. I will drop all of that at the foot of the stairs of the office, though, and go on lightened of that burden. I will sit myself down at my good crooked harvest table with a glass of stout and a crisp apple, and I will do something new. […]

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Resolution #9

…in my 37-item Viable Paradise followup list is to set myself a deadline for the completion of the Dickensian Fantasy, and also one for the Other Project (henceforth to be known as the Not-a-Werewolf Book). Whatever that deadline turns out to be, I’m pretty sure I’ve already fallen behind. Ditto for my weekly word count target. This week’s word count so far? Well, since I wrote myself a stern note to the effect that blogging, rough notes, and day-career stuff don’t count, I’m sitting at a grand total of about 100. And since day-career has been a week neglected, I’m sitting on four imminent deadlines, one of which is in twelve hours and requires six hours worth of work, in addition to the eating, sleeping and showering that might also be required. As much as I love my day-career, I do heartily wish it operated on a steady year-round schedule. This whole business of Christmas makes me want to bite the hand that feeds me. With that off my chest, I propose to pour myself a nice glass of Tankhouse, start pounding away at that six-hour task, and if I can get it done in five, give myself the reward […]

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Galvanized

…in the electric sense, not the washtub sense. Although to someone with a greater level of technical knowledge they are probably the same sense. Apparently this energy extends even to things that aren’t writing. In the last 36 hours I’ve stripped the nasty old carpet runner from the hallway, gone to market, gone to work, typed up all my VP notes, got the photoblog up to date, caught up on email, gone for a run, and slept a whole four hours. I keep having ideas for stories, and jotting them down, and then reminding myself all over again that ideas don’t count. They’re like salt in cooking: never at the heart of the dish. At the heart is the person, in the place, with the problem. That’s the thing I used to know and somehow forgot for a decade or so. I don’t expect I’ll forget it again. […]

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And Then I Woke Up

Back here in the real world, so little time has passed that the plums in the refrigerator are still good. I am sitting with a cup of rooibos and making myself a very ambitious to-do list. It commences with tearing apart the Dickensian Fantasy: the very thing I swore I had no need to do. It continues with a whole bunch of other things to write, and a number of commitments which I have no doubt will prove onerous at some point, but at the moment feel like the veriest hit of crack. It doesn’t end, of course, until I end. […]

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Bound for the corn and wine

For any of you from Envisage365 who are stopping by, here’s a taste of what you’ll receive on my return. (I don’t have email here although I have web access.) This place is full of gorgeousness. Although today’s image was actually quite utilitarian: my manuscript, taped to the wall. I was privileged to read the first few pages of my story for the rest of the workshop attendees today. An important person liked it. Actually, I’m pretty sure more than one important person liked it, particularly when I consider that many people here are likely in a state of potential importance, whether it is to me personally, to the world at large, or something in between. Elizabeth Bear tells us that stories are a loss leader. I wonder if they’re also something like remainders: the revenue per unit is low, but then, so is the cost; and they can entice readers who might not want to commit to something bigger without first having a taste. I’m going to sell this one: my first genre short story in two decades. I’ve been hoping all along that I would figure out how to get back into this part of my creative mind. […]

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