Monday, September 30, 2013

Cure for the "I Don't Wannas"

I remind myself that the only way to alleviate this feeling is progress: the only way out of this feeling is through. If I don't sit down and push myself to make real progress today, I will feel exactly this bad when I sit down again tomorrow, and in fact, I will probably feel worse, because of the time I wasted yesterday. This is merely how beginning feels. I need to work while I feel it, or else I'll never get past the beginning and I'll never stop feeling it. 

- Kristin Cashore

Friday, September 20, 2013

Highs and Lows and Writing and UGH, WRITING

My pretties, I've been WRITING.

My lov'lies, I've been NOT WRITING.

Really, I've realised something about how I write. I get bored easily. SO EASILY. I imagine it's the same tendency I get with everything, hence the bazillions of half-finished projects around my house: quilts, knitting, BOOKS—omg the books I've started and not finished!—TV shows on Netflix I've only half-marathoned (though possibly for the better), and then there was that short stretch of time when I thought I'd teach myself how to embroider (very short), and thankfully my urge to learn guitar didn't last long enough for me to actually spend money (that I don't have) on a guitar...

You get the point.

When I write, I have one scene in my mind. It's vivid. It's a movie. I have to dig out my phone while I'm driving to dictate a conversation before it's lost to the oblivion. I have 30 draft emails in my email account with scattered notes and ideas I had in those few moments I didn't have my notebook handy. And my notebook... the poor thing. Every top margin is filled with teeny writing, which then flows into the margins, which then flows into the skipped lines between entries.

I write the scene.

It's glorious.

I sit down every day, I earn my sticker,1 I keep writing during my lunch breaks and I can't wait to get home and continue writing. I think about it all the time. I actually have to stop myself, pace myself, so I don't get burned out. Because I do that easily, too. I write page after page, maybe taking a day off in the middle, until I have my scene.

You have to understand, I have a long workday (as I'm sure many people do). A two hour writing session means I have spinach for dinner. Forget laundry, dishes, showering. Pfft. I wrote today. I win at life.

I stare at the pages in their beautiful blue ink-scribbled glory.

And then I don't know what to write next. So I skip a day. Then two. Then three. I'm eating better, and the laundry gets done, and all the dishes, but then two weeks have gone by, and my calendar is very lacking in the cheery sea animal sticker department.

Sad Gina.

So I start writing something else, because other stories have been fighting for the spotlight for those two weeks, but I've been pushing them away because I already have a project! This thing over here, that I've been avoiding! But my willpower, it is weak. I give in. I start writing another story.

It's first person. It's contemporary. Ish. There's science, and no dragons (yet), so I guess that makes it contemporary. It's so gloriously different from my other project that I can sit down and write and make my word count and everyone is happy.

Except for the first project. It's sitting in the earlier pages of my notebook, crying and wondering what it's done to me to make me abandon it so. I actually think of the pages forming a pair of eyes and eyebrows, just enough to scrunch up and cry and make me feel like a terrible person for abandoning my baby over here.

To which I say, "Don't worry, little story. I still love you." I give it a consoling pat on the head, then turn my back on it to keep writing the Other Story.

I finish the scene. I am proud of myself. I admire all the stickers I've earned.

And then I don't know where to go next. I don't write for a day, then two, then three.

But I've been thinking about my first story now. Getting excited about it again. I know where it needs to go next, I can feel my character's pain, I can hear their arguing and their nightmares and their pillow talk. This is good, this is what I needed. A little bit of vacation to get excited about it again!

So I sit down, and start working on the first story. And earn my stickers.

I think this is okay, though. This is how I work. A very long, spaced out cycle. I'm working to compress it. I don't want to go so many days between scenes, without writing anything. Because then the words and stories inside me build up until I can't think straight. But working on a different project helps. It clears the gunk out of my engine, stretches different muscles, allows me to keep moving on something. And hey, at some point I do have to do the dishes.

1 I've actually been doing something like this, drawing a star in my calendar, for a while now. But after seeing this post, I went out and bought stickers! Sea animal stickers, to be specific. And it is SO MUCH BETTER. Now, I not only berate myself for not getting any writing done, I have adorable sharks and turtles to berate me too! All in all, everyone is happy. Except when I don't write, then NO ONE is happy. Especially the starfish, who frequently lose an arm when I don't make my writing goal but still showed up and BICHOK'd the shit out of my night and wrote something and I want SOME KIND OF CREDIT, DAMMIT, GIVE ME YOUR ARM.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Muse concert!

I went to see a Muse concert last night. It was amazing.

This is where we were sitting before everything started:

Cage the Elephant opened. I was excited to see them because I like their music, but unfortunately they kind of sucked. The lead singer was definitely on something, and he was running a bopping around so much, a guy was following him around constantly untangling the mic wire. The bass player (maybe the guitar player, I don't know we were far away) stepped out of his way and tripped over an amp, and played a song on his ass. The vary last song, the singer jumped on the same bass/guitar players back, they both topple over, the bass/guitar player pulls his strap off and just leaves the guitar on the floor, and walks off the stage looking pissed.

Crappy picture of Cage the Elephant.
Then, someone working at the venue came up to our section (number 205A) with a huge stack of tickets and asked everyone if we wanted to move up for Muse. Ummmm... YES.

So we moved up to section 124. Which is right next to the stage. For FREE.

The lights went out and everyone started screaming. It was fantastic.

We were THIS CLOSE. Did I mention how fantastic it was? Matt Bellamy is like a tiny adorable tidal wave. Amazing guitar player, and he has a fantastic voice. All that high pitched stuff Muse does? It's all him. The Bass player sings too, but the lower stuff. (Once or twice he did some high stuff though.) They played for an hour and forty five minutes straight. That's a lot of high pitched singing. I lost my voice singing along, but I may have been a bit exuberant.

And don't let me short-shrift the bass player, drummer, and keyboard/backgroud guitarist. They were all amazing. The bass player played a song on harmonica that was banging, and then threw it into the audience. They also threw guitar picks and drum sticks into the audience. (It would have been so cool to get a guitar pick. The drum sticks seem a little dangerous.)

There was this cool triangle-dome thing that went up and down during the show and showed cool videos, close-ups of the band, and crazy designs.

It was so awesome.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Books, Bellamy, and BĂȘtes

I have a last-minute chance to see a Muse concert! Monday night. And I am so snagging it. I've only been to a few concerts in my life, but it's something I always wanted to do more of. They can just get so expensive, so I always dragged my feet about buying tickets, even for shows I wanted to see. (We have a great radio station that tells you about all the shows coming to the area, so I hear about them a lot.) But this time a friend twisted my arm to go because her brother bailed and she had an extra ticket. (It didn't take much twisting.) We'll be geeking out about Doctor Who and All Things Nerd the whole time, I'm sure. And Cage the Elephant is opening, which is doubly awesome.

If you live in the Philadelphia/Tri-State Area, you'll be able to see a rocket launching tonight! It leaves Wallops Island, VA at 11:27 pm. Check it out! There should be clear skies. Click here for more details and a map of the viewing area. I got to see a shuttle launch on a vacation in Florida once, and it was the highlight of the whole trip. If you ever get the chance to see a shuttle launch, TAKE IT. Even if you have to drive four hours to get there. You won't regret it. Did you know that after a shuttle launches, the disturbance in the upper atmosphere creates a certain kind of cloud that only occurs after a launch? We got to see those too.

Have your nightmares been losing fuel lately? Well, I'm here to solve your problem. Presenting Reverse Speech, sent to me by a coworker who evidently gets more than enough sleep. They take recordings and play them backwards, and it's crazy how clearly words come out that are clear as day and saying exactly the opposite. I'm not really into occult type stuff, so I tend to take things like this with a grain of salt, but this totally creeps me out. Check out the reversals from the Jon Benet Ramsay case.

And duuuude, the books coming out this month! I WANT THEM ALL.

The Incrementalists - Steven Brust and Skylar White - out 9/24

Review from Little Red Reviewer

The Incrementalists—a secret society of two hundred people with an unbroken lineage reaching back forty thousand years. They cheat death, share lives and memories, and communicate with one another across nations, races, and time. They have an epic history, an almost magical memory, and a very modest mission: to make the world better, just a little bit at a time. Their ongoing argument about how to do this is older than most of their individual memories. 

Phil, whose personality has stayed stable through more incarnations than anyone else’s, has loved Celeste—and argued with her—for most of the last four hundred years. But now Celeste, recently dead, embittered, and very unstable, has changed the rules—not incrementally, and not for the better. Now the heart of the group must gather in Las Vegas to save the Incrementalists, and maybe the world. (Synopsis from BN)

Fangirl - Rainbow Rowell - out 9/10

In Rainbow Rowell's Fangirl, Cath is a Simon Snow fan. Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan, but for Cath, being a fan is her life—and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving. 

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere. 

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to. 

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this? Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind? (Synopsis from BN)

Vicious - V. E. Schwab - out 9/24

A masterful tale of ambition, jealousy, desire, and superpowers. 

Victor and Eli started out as college roommates—brilliant, arrogant, lonely boys who recognized the same sharpness and ambition in each other. In their senior year, a shared research interest in adrenaline, near-death experiences, and seemingly supernatural events reveals an intriguing possibility: that under the right conditions, someone could develop extraordinary abilities. But when their thesis moves from the academic to the experimental, things go horribly wrong. 

Ten years later, Victor breaks out of prison, determined to catch up to his old friend (now foe), aided by a young girl whose reserved nature obscures a stunning ability. Meanwhile, Eli is on a mission to eradicate every other super-powered person that he can find—aside from his sidekick, an enigmatic woman with an unbreakable will. Armed with terrible power on both sides, driven by the memory of betrayal and loss, the archnemeses have set a course for revenge—but who will be left alive at the end? 

In Vicious, V. E. Schwab brings to life a gritty comic-book-style world in vivid prose: a world where gaining superpowers doesn’t automatically lead to heroism, and a time when allegiances are called into question.(Synopsis from BN)