ostarella: (Writing)
Well, my first ever "author interview" is up:

http://www.writingforums.com/catfish-soup/131071-interview-shadowwalker.html

Nothing spectacular, but it was kinda nice to be asked to do it. :)
ostarella: (Default)
Tonight when I go to work, before I do anything else, I'm going to tell the managers I want to go to a three-day workweek instead of four. I won't be able to spend quite as freely, but I won't actually be hurting either. But when I can barely stand to pick up the coffee pot because my shoulder and elbow spasm, enough's enough. That, and I'm just sick to death of the stupid management decisions being made.

That's change number one.

I'm going to rebuild a shed and get it heated over the summer so I can move all my writing stuff out there. I want need a place where I can actually use my Dragon without feeling self-conscious, plus where I can smoke when I need to step back for a moment. I'm tired of having to completely break my train of thought and stand out in the cold, wind, and rain just to consider things.

That's change number two.

And last, and perhaps the hardest, I'm going to be stepping back from *all* the writing forums and discussion groups I'm on. Not because I'm spending too much time on them, but because so much of it has become just reiterations of either the same basic questions (will someone steal my ideas?) or the same stupid debates (who can call themselves an author and who can't). Checking in on them does one of two things - bores the hell out of me or raises my blood pressure. Ditto the blogs I've been watching - I know where they are and who's writing them, so when I really need the information, I can look them up.

I say the last is the hardest because I really do think writers need to keep up with the industry - but at the same time, it almost seems like some sort of inbreeding. Writers discussing writing with writers - and so many things that are 'big news' for writers are of absolutely no importance to readers. In fact, sometimes I think writers are too concerned with other writers and that 'world', and start forgetting about the readers. Not to pick on self-publishing, but it's more obvious there. People getting all excited because they get interviewed on some big-shot self-publisher's blog - well, whoop-de-doo. How many readers care? Or how many readers care if you call yourself an author or a writer - or if other authors/writers do? They just want good books.

And lastly, I think I've been spending too much time (consciously or otherwise) with publication on my mind. I need to stop starting stories and trashing them because I don't think I can publish them, and just write. Write like I used to. Worry about the publication crap after it's done and it's just a commodity. I can compartmentalize the business end of things then, and start the next story, again without thinking about publication. Just tell the story.

So, I think with these three changes, I'm going to be a lot happier than I have been. And hopefully much more productive.
ostarella: (Arrgh)
And I'm beginning to think I don't want to be. Because once again I find myself faced with such obstinate elitism it makes my head spin. See, I'm not a writer because I don't earn my living by writing. Even if I were published and getting paid for it, I wouldn't be a writer unless I supported myself by writing. Otherwise, I'm just a hobbyist. Or, in a more generous mood, I could be called an 'aspiring writer'.

The earth will shatter if I call myself an author.
ostarella: (Default)
Just looked at my work schedule for the next three weeks - the last week I'm down to 3 days. Not real happy about it, even though I know it's because it's just a slow time at the store. Still, one would think, since I worked extra days without objection, that I wouldn't be one of those taking the cut. Not sure how many weeks that will happen, but... Just another reason to look for other work.

Got my W2 online this year and did just a quick calculation - getting back more than I expected, but of course, not as much as I'd want. LOL  But every little bit helps.

Going to get security lights for the back yard this week. Bad enough my truck radio was stolen last year (while it sat disabled for a couple months) but now my brother's discovered someone stole our old wheelbarrow. I mean, WTF? Who steals an old beat-up wheelbarrow? But just the fact it was stolen was enough. No more believing that our little town is 'safe'. And next spring I'm putting up a fence between the barn and the toolhouse, so they don't have such easy access to our yard. (Don't think my brother will object to that, under the circumstances. Although I know he wouldn't go for a six foot privacy fence around the whole yard. He's not into fortress thinking - yet. LOL)

Sooo... taking down the Christmas tree tonight. Kinda hate to, because it was so pretty this year. But all good things, y'know.

Am thinking I'll be doing more blogging on my writing blog this year. Maybe. It still doesn't excite me all the much, and I doubt I'll do more than maybe monthly, but what the hell. Give it a shot and see if anybody reads it.

Vindicated

Oct. 9th, 2011 03:11 pm
ostarella: (Writing)
I left a writing forum over one major issue - the idea of being respectful when giving critiques. It was, basically, the straw that broke the camel's back. My contention (as a beta for several years) that there was absolutely no reason to get nasty or arrogant when giving a critique (and let's be sure to distinguish between a critique and a review). For that, I was labeled (along with anyone else who might hold the same opinion) a 'speshful flower'. (My own betas know that's so far removed from the truth it's laughable. Loudly laughable.) Now, I knew there were others who felt the same way (and who posted thusly in that discussion), but in a recent look-see at another forum, I discovered I was not the only one who left Forum A because of this attitude. Quite a number were so dismayed at the attitude of the other forum they not only left, they wanted to warn others about it.

Now, this is not to say that, after working with someone for some time, one has to be as tactful. With those who really want the honest feedback, it's easy to start jokingly 'bashing' something ("You didn't really write that, did you? :D") or getting more firm ("You need to correct this [continual problem] in future postings or I just can't work on it any more."). Then there are others who just want you to gush over their golden words - and after a point, it's difficult to remain polite, much less tactful. (I told one person sometimes it takes getting hit with a pile of bricks for it to sink in.) But again, this is after you've worked together and gotten to know each other. You don't do those sorts of things on a first post (or even the first couple of posts), or [especially] when the writer is new and genuinely seeking help.

It just is beyond me why writers, of all people, can't seem to figure out how to word a critique without getting arrogant, nasty, or snarky. I mean, that's what we do - use words and phrases to communicate effectively.  So I was left wondering who the 'speshful flowers' really were - those asking for help or those deigning to respond.

So anyway - glad I left one, even gladder (is that a word? lol) that I found the other.

[I'm deliberately not mentioning either forum because I don't want to provoke any snarkiness between the two - anyone interested can pm me. One for a warning and the other for a recommendation.]

Discoveries

Oct. 7th, 2011 09:58 am
ostarella: (Default)
Having stopped logging in/posting to one writers' forum, and joined a couple others, I've discovered one thing - writers tend, at least in these communities, to have an overblown sense of their own importance. Now, that's not to say that all are like that. There are a great many who are sincerely and truly helpful and open-minded. But there are far too many who, either from being members of these communities for eons or from already having an overabundance of self-worth, think their advice is golden. That if they state an opinion, it should be taken as fact. That if you don't do what they say, or if you dare to disagree, you're stupid. And I won't even get started on the self-publishing "gurus"...  (until another post :D)

I've also realized that there are a lot of writers who refuse, absolutely, to listen to any of the advice given, good or bad. Now, having been a beta, I already knew that occurred in the fanfic world. There are prima donnas out there who think because they've got groupies that their writing is perfect. I guess I was naive thinking it didn't happen in the 'real world'. And at the other end of the spectrum are those writers who want people to tell them how to write - everything from basic grammar to how the story should evolve (ie, "Write my story for me!"). It amazes (and frustrates) me that these people waste the time of forum-goers asking questions they could (and should) find the answers to themselves (What - you didn't know there were grammar books out there? Or articles online?) If one is confused about the information found, that's when the forums should be utilized - but really. "When do I use a comma?" WTF?

Connected to that is my discovery that there is very little about writing per se that I haven't already learned. Publishing is a different story, of course, but writing... yeah. Now, I realize that that statement sounds every bit as egotistical as those I just complained about. But writing is a craft - and of that aspect, I am very confident. What few grammar questions I have typically turn out to be matters of style and 'currency' - things that are not rules so much as how one 'authority' prefers things versus another 'authority'. But I definitely know how to string together a coherent sentence, how to form dialogue, how to weave a story together so it holds the reader's interest - with the given regarding that last item that everyone improves the more they write.

Now, when ones talks about methodology, my preferences are no better - and no worse - than anyone else's. What works for me works for me and may or may not work for someone else. And that's what separates me from the blowhards above. I recognize that each writer needs their own style and their own methods for completing a book.

So, I'm finding myself glancing through the various communities, reading with half-interest those newbie questions about how to write, shaking my head at the "You have to do it this way" replies, and noting those who offer suggestions versus commands (ie, who recognize the individuality of the writer). Otherwise...

What it all boils down to is this: I started looking at various writing communities because I thought they could teach me things about writing. I was wrong. There's very little a seasoned writer can learn about writing on these forums. There is, however, a lot one can learn about publishing and when I am to the point of actively pursuing that (ie, when my first book is completed), I shall certainly be going to these various forums to glean whatever knowledge and insights I can. But I shall do it with one caveat - not everyone really knows what the hell they're talking about. Even the published authors. Those who are in the publishing business - agents and publishers - certainly need to be listened to. But even those need a grain of salt, as one will inevitably find they contradict each other. But reading their advice, and finding that which seems to be a consensus (or at least, makes more sense), will be invaluable when I start querying for my book. And there will be a few individuals (again, see above) to whom I will listen with more than just mild interest, and those to whom I will not listen at all.

So, I will be spending a lot less time on these communities and a lot more time actually writing. Because that's really all that's important.
ostarella: (Default)
So, my back injury which was supposed to be healed up in a week or so... hasn't. Oh, it's much better than it was, but I still have a sharp ache when I walk more than a few steps, and bending over, and going up stairs, and lifting (even light boxes). Have been living on Advil, which helps the first couple of hours, but then I can't take it again right away and by the time I can, the aches have taken over. Doesn't seem to bother on the left side, but the right is bad. I noticed that the moment I first stood up after falling, too, and mentioned it to the intake nurse. I'm thinking I didn't land square on my back, but more on the right side, which is the only logical reason for it. I'm thinking if it doesn't clear up in the next couple of days (making it the full '7-10 days'), I may give the doctor a call and see if there might be something else wrong. And if you know how I feel about doctors, you'll know how desperate I am to get rid of this constant ache!

In other news...

Have gotten a good start on the next chapter of Covenant. Have figured out some tie-ins with earlier parts of the story, and how to get the ball rolling for the next 'adventure'. Getting back to the canon parts of the story now, and I'm looking forward to giving them my take. :D

Also have figured out a few sticking points in my newest original story - like why the MC is acting the way she is. It was a heavy sticking point because if I couldn't plausibly explain her motivation, it just came across as stupid. And I hate stupid MCs - particularly of the female variety! But I've really got to get down to the writing now, as it's going to be a bit long and I really want to be able to enter it in a contest that's due the end of the month. But it's been percolating in my head long enough - I think it's going to write itself fairly quickly once I get started. But even if I miss this deadline, I'd rather have a good story and try other avenues for getting it published, than submit a crappy one and just waste the entry fee.

Also considering setting up a new writing blog. I feel a bit inadequate to do so - but then I do know quite a bit about writing and have some opinions that don't require one to be an expert - just observant. I just don't know if I want to add another commitment when I'm already having trouble keeping up with the current ones. :p
ostarella: (Writing)
I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Some fiction (horror mainly) but mostly books on or about writing. And I discovered something that has been of the greatest help. And Billy - this is a book you should get if at all possible.

"Spider, Spin Me a Web: Lawrence Block on Writing Fiction" (it's a Writers Digest book, copyright 1988). It's highly readable, funny, and full of plain common sense. But the thing that got to me was the chapter on procrastination. He states, in essence, that procrastinating is simply a way we find of not facing our fears - fears that what we write won't be good enough, that our writing will "prove" we are as useless as we fear, or even that successful writing will destroy (or at least, wreak havoc) on our lives as we know them. He then goes on to say that forcing ourselves to write without addressing those fears will not work.

Then he stated something that I needed to hear, badly:

"The answer consists not in making ourselves write but in allowing ourselves to write." (pg 136)

This has been my problem. I have been making myself write and end up tossing everything out. Garbage. Total garbage. And in the back of my mind, what I've been hearing is "If you don't get this finished - and soon - you will never write anything worth reading again." Or "If you don't get further with this - and soon - you will never get anything published." Or "If you don't do this, you will fail; if you don't do that, you will fail. No matter what you do, you will fail."

"You are a failure."

The pressure I was putting on myself, along with self-imposed deadlines I didn't meet (read: couldn't meet), was taking all the joy out of writing. Taking away the excitement of creativity. I was so focused on the goal that I forgot about the journey. It was, in fact, like a trip I took to Vancouver a few years ago. On the way out, I took the fastest (and most boring) route, just because I wanted to get there. On the way back, I took the scenic route instead, and I enjoyed the journey ten times as much.

So that's what I need to do now - think about the journey and not (as much) the goal. I need to relax and let it unfold - and eventually I will reach my goals. I just have to let myself - allow myself - to enjoy writing again. I will, some day in the near future, be published. I am confident of that. I'm not afraid of going through the rejection process (as that's already happened a couple of times). I know that if I allow myself to write the stories I enjoy, I will get published. Because that enjoyment will come through. And that's why what I've been writing of late has been garbage. Because my attitude of "I have to write this!" has come through.

So I'm going to re-read Covenant and get back into that story - back into it as enjoyment, not as "OMG WHY ISN'T THIS DONE YET!?!?" And I'm putting "Touch of Time" aside because I have a horror story that intrigues me more. I'm going to write what excites me again. I'm going to be the writer who enjoys writing again. And if it takes a little longer to get things done, so be it.

I enjoy long journeys.
ostarella: (Writing)
I've been doing a lot of reading lately. Some fiction (horror mainly) but mostly books on or about writing. And I discovered something that has been of the greatest help. And Billy - this is a book you should get if at all possible.

"Spider, Spin Me a Web: Lawrence Block on Writing Fiction" (it's a Writers Digest book, copyright 1988). It's highly readable, funny, and full of plain common sense. But the thing that got to me was the chapter on procrastination. He states, in essence, that procrastinating is simply a way we find of not facing our fears - fears that what we write won't be good enough, that our writing will "prove" we are as useless as we fear, or even that successful writing will destroy (or at least, wreak havoc) on our lives as we know them. He then goes on to say that forcing ourselves to write without addressing those fears will not work.

Then he stated something that I needed to hear, badly:

"The answer consists not in making ourselves write but in allowing ourselves to write." (pg 136)

This has been my problem. I have been making myself write and end up tossing everything out. Garbage. Total garbage. And in the back of my mind, what I've been hearing is "If you don't get this finished - and soon - you will never write anything worth reading again." Or "If you don't get further with this - and soon - you will never get anything published." Or "If you don't do this, you will fail; if you don't do that, you will fail. No matter what you do, you will fail."

"You are a failure."

The pressure I was putting on myself, along with self-imposed deadlines I didn't meet (read: couldn't meet), was taking all the joy out of writing. Taking away the excitement of creativity. I was so focused on the goal that I forgot about the journey. It was, in fact, like a trip I took to Vancouver a few years ago. On the way out, I took the fastest (and most boring) route, just because I wanted to get there. On the way back, I took the scenic route instead, and I enjoyed the journey ten times as much.

So that's what I need to do now - think about the journey and not (as much) the goal. I need to relax and let it unfold - and eventually I will reach my goals. I just have to let myself - allow myself - to enjoy writing again. I will, some day in the near future, be published. I am confident of that. I'm not afraid of going through the rejection process (as that's already happened a couple of times). I know that if I allow myself to write the stories I enjoy, I will get published. Because that enjoyment will come through. And that's why what I've been writing of late has been garbage. Because my attitude of "I have to write this!" has come through.

So I'm going to re-read Covenant and get back into that story - back into it as enjoyment, not as "OMG WHY ISN'T THIS DONE YET!?!?" And I'm putting "Touch of Time" aside because I have a horror story that intrigues me more. I'm going to write what excites me again. I'm going to be the writer who enjoys writing again. And if it takes a little longer to get things done, so be it.

I enjoy long journeys.
ostarella: (Arrgh)
We have ice. And wind. And cold. And I'm supposed to go to work tonight. Chances are not good that I will be. Which means I'll get written up for an 'unexcused absence' (I'm not supposed to have another one until Jan 16, according to 'the rules'). I don't like the idea, since I've never EVER gotten any kind of disciplinary action in all the 40 years I've been working - but if they think I'm going to chance going in the ditch (or worse) just so that doesn't happen, they've got another think coming. It also means I won't get holiday pay for Thanksgiving. So... I have until 8:30 to find out if the roads are upgraded enough to even try. But fuck it if I can't.

Have tentatively agreed to beta an original work from a writer on one of the forums I'm on. Paranormal thing, which will be different for me, but the writer's looking for grammar, phrasing, etc - the things I'm pretty good at. So we shall see.

I probably won't be around much for a while. Too many RL things going on, too many stress headaches and heart thingies, along with trying to get some serious writing of my own accomplished. Seems like a lot of my friends and sites are quiet now anyway. Living on the 'net just isn't doing it for me any more, frankly. Too many cranks, for one thing. I got so sick of one bigot that I deleted my entire profile and dropped out of that forum. I don't need to be associated with people like that, in any way, shape, or form. People have a right to be bigots - I just don't have to deal with them.

So anyway... going into hermit mode I guess. Deal with stuff on my LJs and sites and let the rest float with the current...
ostarella: (Arrgh)
We have ice. And wind. And cold. And I'm supposed to go to work tonight. Chances are not good that I will be. Which means I'll get written up for an 'unexcused absence' (I'm not supposed to have another one until Jan 16, according to 'the rules'). I don't like the idea, since I've never EVER gotten any kind of disciplinary action in all the 40 years I've been working - but if they think I'm going to chance going in the ditch (or worse) just so that doesn't happen, they've got another think coming. It also means I won't get holiday pay for Thanksgiving. So... I have until 8:30 to find out if the roads are upgraded enough to even try. But fuck it if I can't.

Have tentatively agreed to beta an original work from a writer on one of the forums I'm on. Paranormal thing, which will be different for me, but the writer's looking for grammar, phrasing, etc - the things I'm pretty good at. So we shall see.

I probably won't be around much for a while. Too many RL things going on, too many stress headaches and heart thingies, along with trying to get some serious writing of my own accomplished. Seems like a lot of my friends and sites are quiet now anyway. Living on the 'net just isn't doing it for me any more, frankly. Too many cranks, for one thing. I got so sick of one bigot that I deleted my entire profile and dropped out of that forum. I don't need to be associated with people like that, in any way, shape, or form. People have a right to be bigots - I just don't have to deal with them.

So anyway... going into hermit mode I guess. Deal with stuff on my LJs and sites and let the rest float with the current...
ostarella: (Default)
Well, my brother has sort of moved in. He's spending more time down here than up in the Cities - and the adjustment is proving a bit difficult for both of us. Meals, for one thing. He likes full, regular meals; I'm a grazer. And what he eats and what I eat are not really compatible. And while I use the TV for white noise - a whole afternoon of Family Guy reruns is enough to make me seriously consider loading my rifle. Whether it will be aimed at the TV or my brother is up for grabs...

But we're both trying. He's gone up to the Cities today for a photo show (did I mention he's sold a couple photos he's taken now? For some decent pocket change, too! Yes, I'm very proud of him :D) so I have the day to myself. For what it's worth, since I have to sleep for part of it due to working again tonight. But I'm going to be working on the back bedroom, getting it at least organized a bit. And then Sunday through Tuesday we're going to get the last of the yardwork done, so I won't have that clawing at my conscience any more :p

Needless to say, my writing the last couple of days has suffered. I've worked on notes and short scenes during my lunch breaks, and when he's occupied elsewhere, but it's really hard for me to concentrate with someone else in close proximity. Even though he's not, it feels like he's staring over my shoulder. Not conducive to the thoughts I'm having about this killing or that maiming... ;-) I have a feeling that once I get moved into my room, I'm going to go bananas with it, though. I'm really itching to be able to sit down and write and not have to stop unless I want to. :D
ostarella: (Default)
Well, my brother has sort of moved in. He's spending more time down here than up in the Cities - and the adjustment is proving a bit difficult for both of us. Meals, for one thing. He likes full, regular meals; I'm a grazer. And what he eats and what I eat are not really compatible. And while I use the TV for white noise - a whole afternoon of Family Guy reruns is enough to make me seriously consider loading my rifle. Whether it will be aimed at the TV or my brother is up for grabs...

But we're both trying. He's gone up to the Cities today for a photo show (did I mention he's sold a couple photos he's taken now? For some decent pocket change, too! Yes, I'm very proud of him :D) so I have the day to myself. For what it's worth, since I have to sleep for part of it due to working again tonight. But I'm going to be working on the back bedroom, getting it at least organized a bit. And then Sunday through Tuesday we're going to get the last of the yardwork done, so I won't have that clawing at my conscience any more :p

Needless to say, my writing the last couple of days has suffered. I've worked on notes and short scenes during my lunch breaks, and when he's occupied elsewhere, but it's really hard for me to concentrate with someone else in close proximity. Even though he's not, it feels like he's staring over my shoulder. Not conducive to the thoughts I'm having about this killing or that maiming... ;-) I have a feeling that once I get moved into my room, I'm going to go bananas with it, though. I'm really itching to be able to sit down and write and not have to stop unless I want to. :D
ostarella: (Goals)
Had some de-stressing talks with my brother over the weekend. While he's planning on moving down here, he said he wouldn't be living here full-time. He plans on traveling, possibly even getting a couple time-shares in different locations. So this would be just his 'home base', as it were, instead of living in the Cities. So no permanent "other body in the house". :D

In conjunction with that, we were trying to figure out where "my space" can be (where I can have my computer and be able to smoke without bothering him) and we decided that the downstairs back bedroom would be the best. It currently has a huge antique bed and dresser in it, taking up almost all the floor space, along with a ton of my stuff I've just been storing in there. But we agreed (again!) that we would either sell the set, give it to the local historical society, or just put it in storage until we decided what to do with it. (It's a Victorian style, with 8 foot headboard and marble top dresser, so not something you just put out on the curb :D)  But we have a twin bed and mattress that I can then put in there, with plenty of room for my desk and additional shelving for all my supplies - and still have room for a small table so I can actually have work space when I'm printing things out and rearranging stories.

Just the idea of having my own space, where I can close the doors and not be disturbed, with all my books and reference materials at hand (instead of stored here and there)... I'm getting so excited about it! Almost as good as having the toolhouse or bus for my 'stuff'. :D Windows on two walls looking nowhere except out on the gardens, one door to the main house, the other to the downstairs bathroom - back of the house so I can easily ignore anything else going on in the house... It also helps that it's one of the warmest rooms during the winter - I fully intend to have my desk in front of the heat vent!

Only downside is that the TV won't be there for white noise - but I can live with that. ;-)
ostarella: (Goals)
Had some de-stressing talks with my brother over the weekend. While he's planning on moving down here, he said he wouldn't be living here full-time. He plans on traveling, possibly even getting a couple time-shares in different locations. So this would be just his 'home base', as it were, instead of living in the Cities. So no permanent "other body in the house". :D

In conjunction with that, we were trying to figure out where "my space" can be (where I can have my computer and be able to smoke without bothering him) and we decided that the downstairs back bedroom would be the best. It currently has a huge antique bed and dresser in it, taking up almost all the floor space, along with a ton of my stuff I've just been storing in there. But we agreed (again!) that we would either sell the set, give it to the local historical society, or just put it in storage until we decided what to do with it. (It's a Victorian style, with 8 foot headboard and marble top dresser, so not something you just put out on the curb :D)  But we have a twin bed and mattress that I can then put in there, with plenty of room for my desk and additional shelving for all my supplies - and still have room for a small table so I can actually have work space when I'm printing things out and rearranging stories.

Just the idea of having my own space, where I can close the doors and not be disturbed, with all my books and reference materials at hand (instead of stored here and there)... I'm getting so excited about it! Almost as good as having the toolhouse or bus for my 'stuff'. :D Windows on two walls looking nowhere except out on the gardens, one door to the main house, the other to the downstairs bathroom - back of the house so I can easily ignore anything else going on in the house... It also helps that it's one of the warmest rooms during the winter - I fully intend to have my desk in front of the heat vent!

Only downside is that the TV won't be there for white noise - but I can live with that. ;-)
ostarella: (Default)
And I got more long-overdue yardwork done. So nice to be able to get into an area and just tear everything apart! LOL 

My brother loaded up the pickup with an old brush pile Saturday and I got that hauled out. I really needed to get that out of there because it was where I'm going to have to park the truck this winter. Has a very nice lot of compost there now, which has to be dug out and stashed elsewhere until we put it into the gardens next spring. I started digging it out today, but then found that A) there's sugar sand underneath it (which means it should go into the rose gardens in particular, to provide better drainage in the clay soil) and B) the old cement foundation (used to be a lean-to there) goes down almost 9 inches. So emailed my bro and we decided to dig out the whole thing down to the bottom of the foundation, put in a special kind of cloth over the subsoil and then fill it with gravel. Now, bear in mind, the area we're talking about is approximately 8 feet wide and 14 feet long. And the compost is 2-3" deep above the top of the foundation. In other words - that's a hell of a lot of digging to do! But I'm going to work on it a little bit each day and he'll help over the weekend. We've got 2-3 weeks before it *has* to be done (winter parking restrictions and snow) so we should have time. Hopefully our backs will hold up!

Also tore apart a garden in front of the house. The gal that took care of my mom had put the garden in (which was pretty) but she used old tree stumps for a border and they were rotting out. Most came out fairly easily, but there was one about 5 feet long and not quite 2 feet wide - wasn't quite as rotted as the others and it was damn heavy! But all of that's in the pickup now and the garden itself is cut down and mowed. Tomorrow I have to mow the lawn again as we got a ton more leaves dropped over the weekend. I mow, dump the bag onto a tarp and then when the tarp is 'full', drag it back to the post heap and dump it. It seems like a lot of work but it's a lot easier and neater than raking...

Got some more notes typed up for my book. I keep thinking up various scenes for it and then have to figure out how different things work, or what agencies do what, etc etc. Not sure how many will actually get into the story, but I have the info if I need them. And it's strange - I have one character that I was going to name Sam but damn if he insists his name is David! As I'm typing up my notes I keep typing David instead of Sam and then have to go and change it... I'm thinking I'm just going to have to give in and let the man be David!

On another note, Muffy's getting weaker every day. She's so thin now we have to make sure the cushions on the couch are tucked in tightly or she slides right in between them and then can't get out. It's like picking up a pillowcase. Sleeps all the time except to go outside or when I wake her up to eat. Tonight she slept in my arms for almost an hour while I was working at the computer. She's not in pain or anything (I'd have her put down if I saw that). I keep watching her to see if she's still breathing; I almost hate to come home in the morning because I don't know if she'll still be there...

Fang and Petey are doing okay, thank God. Fang is now a whopping 4 pounds. Chest to butt not quite a foot long. Don't think she's going to get any bigger - she's well over a year old now. Petey still has trouble getting up and down steps and he doesn't stand on his hind legs to beg any more, but otherwise he's cool. He's almost 11 now.

Anyhoo... life goes on. Or so they say...
ostarella: (Default)
And I got more long-overdue yardwork done. So nice to be able to get into an area and just tear everything apart! LOL 

My brother loaded up the pickup with an old brush pile Saturday and I got that hauled out. I really needed to get that out of there because it was where I'm going to have to park the truck this winter. Has a very nice lot of compost there now, which has to be dug out and stashed elsewhere until we put it into the gardens next spring. I started digging it out today, but then found that A) there's sugar sand underneath it (which means it should go into the rose gardens in particular, to provide better drainage in the clay soil) and B) the old cement foundation (used to be a lean-to there) goes down almost 9 inches. So emailed my bro and we decided to dig out the whole thing down to the bottom of the foundation, put in a special kind of cloth over the subsoil and then fill it with gravel. Now, bear in mind, the area we're talking about is approximately 8 feet wide and 14 feet long. And the compost is 2-3" deep above the top of the foundation. In other words - that's a hell of a lot of digging to do! But I'm going to work on it a little bit each day and he'll help over the weekend. We've got 2-3 weeks before it *has* to be done (winter parking restrictions and snow) so we should have time. Hopefully our backs will hold up!

Also tore apart a garden in front of the house. The gal that took care of my mom had put the garden in (which was pretty) but she used old tree stumps for a border and they were rotting out. Most came out fairly easily, but there was one about 5 feet long and not quite 2 feet wide - wasn't quite as rotted as the others and it was damn heavy! But all of that's in the pickup now and the garden itself is cut down and mowed. Tomorrow I have to mow the lawn again as we got a ton more leaves dropped over the weekend. I mow, dump the bag onto a tarp and then when the tarp is 'full', drag it back to the post heap and dump it. It seems like a lot of work but it's a lot easier and neater than raking...

Got some more notes typed up for my book. I keep thinking up various scenes for it and then have to figure out how different things work, or what agencies do what, etc etc. Not sure how many will actually get into the story, but I have the info if I need them. And it's strange - I have one character that I was going to name Sam but damn if he insists his name is David! As I'm typing up my notes I keep typing David instead of Sam and then have to go and change it... I'm thinking I'm just going to have to give in and let the man be David!

On another note, Muffy's getting weaker every day. She's so thin now we have to make sure the cushions on the couch are tucked in tightly or she slides right in between them and then can't get out. It's like picking up a pillowcase. Sleeps all the time except to go outside or when I wake her up to eat. Tonight she slept in my arms for almost an hour while I was working at the computer. She's not in pain or anything (I'd have her put down if I saw that). I keep watching her to see if she's still breathing; I almost hate to come home in the morning because I don't know if she'll still be there...

Fang and Petey are doing okay, thank God. Fang is now a whopping 4 pounds. Chest to butt not quite a foot long. Don't think she's going to get any bigger - she's well over a year old now. Petey still has trouble getting up and down steps and he doesn't stand on his hind legs to beg any more, but otherwise he's cool. He's almost 11 now.

Anyhoo... life goes on. Or so they say...

Damn kids

Sep. 28th, 2010 01:48 pm
ostarella: (Arrgh)
More and more I'm thinking that writing forums need to have a minimum age requirement - or at least make people state up front if they're still in high school.

I just got through giving a lengthy and (what I hoped was) helpful response to a writer who was getting burned out and having trouble writing every day. So what happens? In a response to another writer, he said he was just finishing his last year of high school and one of the reasons he didn't write was because the new TV season was starting.

So, okay, I have nothing against teenagers wanting to write, and I'm quite sure there are some out there who actually have the writing skills to put together a good book. But frankly, most of them haven't a clue about a) writing or b) real life and the accompanying experiences. And a lot of those who are so enthralled with being authors now will have left it behind within a couple years.

I wouldn't mind helping out some kid who I know is committed to being a writer. I just don't like having them dumped in my lap without warning.

Damn kids

Sep. 28th, 2010 01:48 pm
ostarella: (Arrgh)
More and more I'm thinking that writing forums need to have a minimum age requirement - or at least make people state up front if they're still in high school.

I just got through giving a lengthy and (what I hoped was) helpful response to a writer who was getting burned out and having trouble writing every day. So what happens? In a response to another writer, he said he was just finishing his last year of high school and one of the reasons he didn't write was because the new TV season was starting.

So, okay, I have nothing against teenagers wanting to write, and I'm quite sure there are some out there who actually have the writing skills to put together a good book. But frankly, most of them haven't a clue about a) writing or b) real life and the accompanying experiences. And a lot of those who are so enthralled with being authors now will have left it behind within a couple years.

I wouldn't mind helping out some kid who I know is committed to being a writer. I just don't like having them dumped in my lap without warning.
ostarella: (Default)
Have decided I definitely am not working any more 4 days in a row. Or even 3. I was so wiped out that yesterday and today I would sleep for 2-3 hours, be awake for 4-5, then sleep again for a few, then wide awake. The body (and mind) is not meant to be asleep at 9PM, awake at midnight, asleep at 4AM, and then awake again at 7AM. Of course, having to work in two departments with no additional help and two nights of the largest shipments we've gotten in weeks didn't help either. :p

So anyway, did get some things accomplished. Got some more work done on Covenant's latest chapter - past the hard parts, so now it should start flowing a little faster. Ready to end the Nazi hunt bit and move into the last few chapters leading to the start of the show. In other words - getting to some really fun chapters! :D

And I went through all my stories and notes for stories and got them organized in a big list so I know what I've done, what I've got planned, and what I just have ideas for. Including original stuff. (Actually found a story in my files for TAT that I'd forgotten all about - only got a little written, notes really, but just reading through them I thought, OMG I have GOT to write that! Sigh. Just what I needed...

Spent most of the afternoon mowing. Trying to keep up with the leaves now, plus I mowed down three more gardens. It looks so strange to see the bare earth where they were, but nice, too. Clean. Still have so much to get done before the really cold weather comes - and especially before the snow flies. Gawd - hate to think that it's getting closer.

Wednesday after work I have to stop and pick up chicken wire, some posts, and tons of plastic. The chicken wire and posts for putting around the roses, new post heap, and various other plants that have to be protected over the winter; the plastic for the windows. And I have to pick up straw bales for around the roses, even though we put the leaves around them, too. Takes twelve bales for all of them...

So much to do, so little time... but that's life in general, I guess.

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