novels


Random quote of the day:

“The job of the writer is to take a close and uncomfortable look at the world they inhabit, the world we all inhabit, and the job of the novel is to make the corpse stink.

―Walter Mosley, “On the novelist’s obligation to employ politics and poetry,” The Washington Post, November 20, 2005

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Bert and Ernie, Celine Dion, or the Band of the Coldstream Guards. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

This is an excerpt from my novel, Carmina, which I hope someday will be finished. Like the people in this story, however, I seem to be wandering in Faery and despair of ever finding my way out. First draft, and I wanted to suggest archaic speech without actually using too much of it.

*

A band of travelers through Faery come upon a man sitting beside a wandering path through the woods.

 

He held his head in his hands as if in despair. He was dressed in nothing but a nightshirt and a pair of highly embroidered red mules with leather soles. They looked comfortable but considerably the worse for wear. At the sound of their approach, he jumped to his feet with an excited and expectant look upon his face and cried out a great rush of speech that some of them had trouble understanding.

“Is he speaking English?” asked Bobo.

“Yes,” Jeremy answered, “a 17th century version with a thick Highland Scots accent. He says his name is Reverend Robert Kirk and he came here in 1692. I’m from 18th century London, so his accent is not such a stretch for me.

“Do you wish me to speak like an Englishman?” the Reverend asked in a peeved but more moderated accent.

Bobo gave an embarrassed laugh. “No offense. My American ears aren’t accustomed to the Scottish accent.”

The Reverend scratched the stubble on his head. “American? Are you from one of the colonies, then?”

“Things have changed somewhat in the world since you…departed,” Jeremy explained. “The colonies broke away from the English crown in 1776 and formed a new country, alternately called America and the United States of America.”

“Is it?” The Reverend looked quite startled, holding his hand over his heart as if it pained him. He seemed to rally and straightened his shoulders. “No blame can attend anyone for wanting to break away from the English crown.”

“What can we do for you?” asked Jeremy.

“I should dearly love a pair of breeks—or what passes for them in your time. Some smallclothes would also be appreciated.”

“Smallclothes?” asked Bobo.

“Underwear,” Carmina explained.

“Aye, indeed,” said the Reverend. “Under wear. I should be grateful for more sturdy shoes, as well, but do not wish to impose.”

They looked pointedly at Ramannes [an Elfin lord].

He sighed impatiently, but waved his hand and produced a pair of men’s drawers and some gabardine trousers which he handed to the Reverend. In his other hand was a pair of brown work boots and socks like Jeremy wore, which he also handed off.

“The pants have a thing called a zipper,” Jeremy explained. He turned away from Carmina and unzipped and zipped his pants several times to demonstrates. “Takes a little getting used to but it’s quite efficient. Only—” He laughed self-consciously. “Make sure you have your…personal bits out of the way of the zipper teeth. It can be quite painful.”

The Reverend raised his chin to look down his nose as much as he was able, considering how much shorter he was than Jeremy. “I shall endeavor to take care.”

He stepped back into the trees. They heard huffing and puffing and an occasional mutter of Noo jist haud on! or Keep the heid! Eventually he stepped back onto the path, his nightshirt tucked into the trousers and the trousers tucked into the work boots.

He held the mules in his hand. “I do not wish to discard these, worn as they may be, for they have personal meaning to me.”

Otto, who had been silent through all this conversation, looking more and more anxious as it went on, asked earnestly, “Did you go to sleep and awaken in this place?”

“Nae, not quite.”

“Tell us, please,” said Otto. “I wish very much to know how it was for you.”

“Well. I was home. At the manse. In Aberfoyle.” The Reverend drew in a large breath, his eyes losing their focus on the people around him. “It was a brisk night, but none sae bad, being May. The air was filled with that ineffable essence of spring that fills the heart with quiet joy. The knowe—” He stopped a moment to moisten his lips and looked away down the road. “The hill near my manse in Aberfoyle was covered in bluebells, a fair mad host of them crowding the knowe, seeming to have sprung up overnight.

“Sae beautiful they were when I looked out my window at twilight with the last of the sun on their tops, a sweet indigo glow. They called to me but I didna go then for I had other things which needed attending and as it was my habit to visit the hill at night before bed, I waited.

“It was two days away from the new moon and dark as pitch when I slipped into my mules for the walk, and took a wee lantern as I ascended the hill path. I was not afraid of the dark, mind, but sensible of not wanting to stumble and do myself some injury.”

His laugh was bitter. “Aye, wouldna have wanted to do myself an injury. But I had no mind of harm as I walked. The lantern made a beautiful glow on the bluebells and the trunks of the pines, and the air, as I said, was brisk but sweet. I couldna seem to draw enough of it into my lungs. I wanted more and more and more, sae sweet it was, and the bluebells danced in the light and up the path.

“Further up the knowe I heard a song thrush calling—my first of the year. ‘Here! Here!’ it seemed to say. ‘This way! This way! Night is calling! Only a fool would tarry!’ It quite led me on in joy.

“Behind me an owl called, hollow and haunting, but I thought nothing of it. The song thrush grew louder, pulling me onward and upward. The sweet perfume of the bluebells was overwhelming. Which should have struck me as odd, because their fragrance is usually reserved for the sunlight.

“But I carried on. I carried on.”

The Reverend rubbed his hand over his mouth, but still didn’t look at any of them, his eyes miles and centuries away. “I had gone quite further than I intended, quite further than my usual habit on these nightly walks. No matter how far up the knowe I traveled, the song thrush seemed just as far away. I stopped beside a stately old pine and leaned on it to catch my breath. The bark was rough against my hand, slightly damp and chill from the night air. The sharp pine scent mixed with the sweetness of the bluebells, but it was not a disharmonious mingling. It quite filled my head.

“Then suddenly, the song thrush was in the branches above my head, uncommonly loud. ‘Come along! Come along!’ it seemed to say.

“I blinked my eyes and there before me on the path lay a man in a nightshirt upon the ground, his lantern beside him, the candle inside quite extinguished sae I couldna see his face. But the light of my own lantern illuminated his mules, one of which was off his foot and tumbled into the path. It bore the same white and gold unicorn my wife had embroidered upon them.

“‘Come along! Come along!’ repeated the song thrush, and the pine tree upon which I leaned turned liquid. My hand sunk into it, and my person followed…into this place of eternal twilight.”

He turned to them then, eyes haunted. “I see by your clothes and your manners that some considerable span of time has passed between then and now.”

“Um, yes.” Jeremy scratched his chin. He knew this would be hard for Kirk to take in. “We ourselves came here from the Year of Our Lord Nineteen Hundred and Forty-Two.”

“19—” The Reverend choked, clutched his chest, and sat quite precipitously upon the ground.

Carmina kneeled beside him. “Are you all right, Reverend?”

“Not at all,” he wheezed.

She laid her hand upon his shoulder and his breathing eased a bit.

“Such a little time to me,” he said, “a matter of days. But I know well the ways of Faery and reckoned it must be longer. I thought perhaps one hundred years, though I hoped not sae much. But nearly three? Am I thus sae far from everything I knew?”

“I’m afraid so,” Carmina said gently. “Have you wandered in the woods all this time?”

“Not quite all this time. I heard laughter, wicked and cruel, quite sae soon as I came through to this place, and I knew then what had befallen me and where I had gone. The seelie wights brought me here. I tried to will myself back through that same pine, but it remained stubbornly solid. I reckoned then that the man I spied upon the ground of the pathway must be a changeling for myself, put there by the seelie wights sae none would know I lived still.

“I pictured in my mind my dwelling place and came there—not in body but in spirit. I saw my young wife…” He clutched his heart again and gave a great sigh. “She sat beside my coffin and lamented greatly. She was great with child, nae more than a month away, perhaps, of bringing forth my child. I could see that it would be another son. I wanted to tell her what had come to pass, to not be sae afraid nor downcast, but couldna break through her great sadness. It was the sturdiest of walls, preventing her from hearing me.

“But my cousin Graham was in the next room. He had a touch of the Sight, as I had myself, though not sae strong. I appeared to him and told him that when it came time to baptize my son, I would appear and he must throw his iron dagger over my head to free me or I would be doomed to stay in Faery ever more.”

The Reverend balled his fists. “But the clot-heid was sae startled when I appeared he failed to throw the knife. And I was gone forever, unable to look upon my family again, unable to do anything but wander these forests.”

He looked up with tears in his eyes. “And I have not seen another soul until now. I would hear voices betimes, or more of that wicked laughter, and direct myself towards it, but never caught it up, and then the sounds faded. I knew neither hunger nor thirst, just endless wandering through twisted forests.”

Ramannes, who had listened in silence until then, said coldly, “You peered too closely into what was none of your business. What else did you expect would happen?”

The Reverend nodded. “Aye. I should have known better, but the desire for mysteries was greater than my caution. To pierce the Veil and see the Other while still in the life of a man…that was my pursuit. And my folly.”

 

Currently reading:

(Subtitle: The life and mysterious death of Scottish churchman and scholar Robert Kirk and his influential treatise on fairy folklore.)

*

I have two novels that are fighting it out for my attention, one about goddesses and one about Faery with a substantial appearance by the Rev. Robert Kirk of The Secret Commonwealth fame who has been after me for years to tell a version of his story. They have been team tagging me for months, first one then the other.

But both novels are wrapped in a cloud of ennui and exhaustion that is summer seasonal affective disorder, with a side of pandemic miasma. My health hasn’t been great the last few months, most especially the last two weeks, so that is adding to the funk. Nothing serious, I don’t think, but chronic. Which means that any progress I make on these two novels is sporadic at best.

I am so not alone in this. I know many creators who are facing similar struggles, but I do feel that I’ve slipped my mooring and am drifting in circles, becalmed in a Sargasso Sea.

I get occasional signs from the universe that it isn’t done with me yet, and the Sargasso, beneath its floating mat of seaweed, is a fertile region of biodiversity for many species. But I fear mine will  wonder if I have another novel in me? And if I do, is it only one? Will I be able to finish both of these projects? I don’t know the answer to that.

All I can do is to keep chipping away at the marble, hoping that the form within will eventually reveal itself and come to life: a real flesh and blood woman. Or man. I have no preferences. Only a forlorn hope. And two metaphors, neither of which I can choose between.

I am caught between ideas right now—not too few, but too many. Good ideas, but almost none of them fleshed out enough to start writing, or to continue writing. Or too stubborn to let me move forward right now. I’m also doing a lot of research reading—but I’m pulled in different directions there, as well. Dueling ideas. And even some old, failed novels sending me new solutions to their old problems. So the creative wheels are spinning. Round and round they go, where they stop nobody knows.

I worked on one novel for most of the winter, but it slammed into a wall in March just short of 41k and would go no further no matter what I tried. I think somewhere along the line I took a wrong turn. Usually when novels get mulishly stubborn it’s a sign I’ve headed off into the weeds instead of following the correct path—that through line that takes me to the ending I composed at the beginning of the project. Usually, if I reread I can find where things start to feel hinky, backtrack and move forward in a different direction from that point. But I tried that, thought I’d identified the problem, except that the thing I thought was wrong, the character, insists on remaining. And maybe he wasn’t what was wrong. Maybe the wrong turn happened elsewhere. I haven’t the heart to do yet another reread/figure out session at the moment so I’m letting it lie fallow and attempting to work on something else.

Yes, I hear all the outliner writers telling me I’m in charge, not my characters. Make an outline and make them do what I want. I’ve tried that as well. They threatened to burn my house down. I learned long ago they are in charge and I’m just letting them use my fingers and brain. And I really need my house.

I’m not really complaining (The Unbearable Whininess of Being). I know many artists have been flailing for the last year or so and I’ve been lucky that I’ve kept writing, through the summer and fall and winter. Sometimes sporadically, but inching forward. And I am still writing, just flitting from thing to thing and not getting anything to jell. There are so many terrible things in the world right now and I am so lucky. Perhaps all the terrible things in the world are part of why my focus is strained. So odd that it would dissipate just as there are signs of hope, of seeing people again. As of Thursday my “probation” period will be over. It will have been two weeks since I had my second COVID shot (Moderna).

I do like seeing people, making plans. It’s just that isolation becomes such a habit for people like me. And given the problems with my legs and chronic illness, it sometimes gets reinforced physically. Limited mobility means limiting my plans to what is easily achievable.

People ask me how I’ve been able to stand being inside my house alone for 14 months, but the answer is that I’m never really alone. I’ve got all those characters and the extraordinary worlds they inhabit to keep me company. But when the magic circus packs up and leaves town without allowing me to follow? The walls do start creeping in.

I am extremely lucky. I see that, I feel that. My dear friend and neighbor has invited me to her house on May 15 for high tea, along with two other of my lovely neighbors, taken outside in her zen garden. We’ve all been fully vaccinated. I was the last and they’ve been waiting for my probation to pass.

But frankly, it will be a long while (if ever) before I leave my house unmasked or squeeze into crowded venues. There are the physical limitations, but there are also too many arrogant idiots in the world who think the rules don’t apply to them and why should they get vaccinated? Let somebody else take the risk.

I can only hope my circus animals come back to play, to settle down to their usual tricks and caprices so I can notate their stories. I really don’t want to wallow alone in the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.

Random quote of the day:

“Novelists tell that piece of the truth hidden at the bottom of every lie.”

—Italo Calvino, The Paris Review, Issue 124, Fall 1992

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

Random quote of the day:

“Every book is the wreck of a perfect idea.”

—Iris Murdoch, The Black Prince

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this random quote of the day do not necessarily reflect the views of the poster, her immediate family, Key and Peele, Celine Dion, or Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band. They do, however, sometimes reflect the views of the Cottingley Fairies.

 

I’ve been doing some clean-up work on my blog, trying to eliminate duplications and other messes that happened long ago when I transferred it from LJ to Dreamwidth. It’s never been a high-priority thing, but something I dip into when I’m in the mood to do something fairly mindless (and kidding myself it’s productive). (Or as a time waster instead of writing, but we won’t talk about that.)

I ran across an old post from June of 2011 which was just at the beginning of my caregiving for my mother when she was on peritoneal dialysis and still able to do most things for herself. That changed in September of that year when she had her stroke—but that’s not the point of this post. Apparently, in June I had just finished my last read through/clean up of my second completed novel, Blood Geek. I think maybe I had the idea of self-publishing. That idea was overtaken by my mother’s illness and never came about. It’s just as well, I suppose. It was a decent effort, but not my best work.

But that’s not the point of this post, either. In the above-referenced post I was talking about the strange parallel of writing a novel (almost twenty years prior at that point) about a woman whose early life had been constrained by caring for her sick mother. She was just about to break free and live life for herself. In 2011 I was rather amazed by the “haunting echo, now that I am helping to care for my own mother, that keeps bouncing through the chambers of my heart. It’s a little disturbing. I knew more than I thought I knew back then.” But in June of 2011 I had no idea, really, of what was to come, how consuming caregiving would be, how it would leave no room for anything but working and caring, how it squeezed out all time for anything like creativity.

But again, that’s not the point of this post. This is, this paragraph I came across:

And now I am in a different phase of my life. I have no vision for what comes next. I can’t see that far beyond the day-to-day. I do know that when I get back to writing something new again, I don’t want it to echo that day-to-day in the slightest. Which is not to say I might not use some of these characters again—in fact, I fully intend to. But they will be engaged in some other enterprise, something that blows the doors open to other worlds with no fences.

What blows the doors off my mind on this day, in 2020, is that I am writing new things again, and the new novel I’m writing does involve some of the same characters—in a whole new enterprise, a whole new process of growth and transformation. (And I am going through that transformation with them.) I haven’t really thought about these characters much in the last nine years, although one of them, Carmina, kept popping up now and then to insist she had a story I really needed to tell. I poked at her story over the years, but beyond the first two chapters, nothing gelled. I didn’t start last year thinking she will be the one. I started last year just trying to write something, anything. And then I wrote a completely different novel in a completely different universe. Also one I’d used before, but nothing to do with these characters.

Yet here I am. Happy and more than a little surprised that this fall Carmina’s story finally took off.

And that’s why I say that no story I have ever committed to paper or electrons (or, hell, even the ones that knock around in my head that I haven’t bothered to do that with) is every truly dead—until I am. Or until my brain blows out. Even my first completed novel, which if I have anything to say about it will never see the light of day, has produced nuggets that I have mined and used in later books. Like the clerk in the dead parrot sketch of Monty Python fame keeps insisting, these stories are not dead. Even if I’m not aware of them on a conscious level, they’re still in there. Resting.

Well, this Musings post is grossly long, and maybe a bit dated, but I started throwing things into the file, then got caught up in the holidays—and God forbid anyone should be deprived of my Musings. [insert barf emoji] At least it has a lot of pictures.

*
One of my most profound mystical experiences, or contact with the numinous, was invoked by a dead cat. It changed me from near-atheist to “oh I get it now.” Thank you, Mocha. The Mocha Hierophany.

Mocha, an old soul from the 80s:

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New Year’s Day sunset: Even enhancing the color on this doesn’t come close to the intensity of the light. Nothing ever beats Nature. Thank you, Nature.

The same sky from my friend who lives a few miles from here. This one captures the immensity of the sky better than mine did, how the clouds seemed to go on forever.

*
Here’s a question for you: is poetry a purely mammalian response to the world? Is magic? Would intelligent and highly advanced reptiles, for instance, have that sense of wonder and awe and poetry? I don’t want to be Mammalian-Centric.

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I always think of the four of swords as the “rumors of my death have been greatly exaggerated” card. (Yes, dad jokes help me remember the meanings.)

*
A few days before the new year (December 30th) I found out that I share blood with one of the accused Salem witches (Mary Leach Ireson). We’re descended from the same ancestor (Richard Leech) through the brother (Lawrence Leech) of my direct ancestor (Thomas Leech). Maybe that’s why I’ve always been obsessed with these trials. I particularly like the “maybe you were a witch but didn’t know it” line of questioning. Apparently, the “maybe I’m a witch but didn’t know it” defense worked because she wasn’t executed and lived until 1711.


As I’ve said before, women rarely appear in the historical record unless they’ve suffered some trauma.

*
I have so much work to do and a limited amount of time. But time is not my enemy. If I focus on what needs to be done, not allowing myself to be distracted, I will do what I need to do. The only reason I say it isn’t against me is because I will do what I can do. If time runs out, then it does. It will eventually anyway so why so sweat it?

*
You know that weird stuff you have to clear from your parents or grandparents’ homes when they pass? When you reach a certain age you can’t be arsed about good taste. Sometimes you just want stuff that makes you giggle or because you know it will chagrin some of the people who inherit it.

*
I finally got my Red Book set up so that people can actually see it instead of being hidden away in a room they can’t go in.

*
Last month I pulled my novel Venus In Transit out of the trunk. I started working on it in 1999. It was inspired by Patrick Harpur’s Daimonic Reality and later given shape and spin by George P. Hansen’s The Trickster and the Paranormal. Plus all those thousands and thousands of paranormal shows I’ve watched over the years and many another paranormal book. I had the novel in a fairly polished state and was getting ready to start marketing it when my mother had a stroke and my world went all to hell for several years. Then there was the very long and painful writer’s block afterwards.

Things started to loosen up for me artistically after watching season one of Hellier last year—and that’s when I had my Hellier related synchronicity storm. Which let me know I was on the right track creatively. I finished one novel this summer and started working on another. Then Hellier Season 2 came along. It fed my head yet again, and there was something about the discussion in that series of pushing through frustration that reminded me of the artistic process.

Whenever an artist, or at least any artist I know, reaches a point of frustration it’s often the sign of imminent breakthrough to a new way of doing things. Pushing through that frustration is a vital part of the process. So I got out that old paranormal novel with an idea to see if it really was ready to market and I fell into a hole with it for about a week. That edit is done, but when I got to the part in the story where my investigator discovers strange, small, three-toed footprints with dermal ridges, I thought, “No one will ever believe I didn’t get this from Hellier.” But those are the breaks. Hellier2 did encourage me to pull it back out of the trunk and that’s got to be a good thing.

*
Hellier is beautifully shot and edited. I remember when the granddaddy of paranormal shows, Ghost Hunters, premiered. They used that cinema vérité style which gave a feel of credibility (and because it was cheap to produce), but imitation is not the sincerest form of flattery. Most of what’s come since has been crap.

*
My life is a lot better since I’ve given up trying to find ultimate answers. I’m more content trying to find ultimate questions.

*
Well, I got within 100 pages of finishing Quicksilver by Neal Stephenson but my medieval porn book arrived so…sorry Neal.

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Cats exist simultaneously in this time/space and in hyperspace which is why they always seem to take up a vastly greater amount of space than their physical bodies would imply.

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I’ve been to both Disneyland and the “Disneyland of Cemeteries”—Forest Lawn—and I would choose to spend my eternity in neither of them. (Talk about terrifying!)

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Lt. Col. Vindman during the impeachment hearings reading that paragraph to his dad and talking about it? “Don’t worry. This is America. We do what’s right here.” We have to justify his faith in this country. It’s been what was true in the past and we can’t let it fall away. DO THE RIGHT THING, AMERICA. And Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi talking to Vindman about the pride of being an immigrant and being an American? Yep, that’s the essence of what this country it’s always been.

I was awakened early this morning by my Nest smoke detector (a Google product) malfunctioning. No smoke, no fire, but after I’d turned the damned thing off three times it would no longer allow me to do that. The firemen came to confirm no fire, no smoke, and physically disabled the alarm to shut it the f*** up. They suggested that maybe the batteries were no good, although they’d been changed about 4 months ago when the technician came out to inspect things. I had turned the heat on about an hour before this happened, but it wasn’t the first time I’d used it this fall.

This is also not the first time this has happened, although last time was not nearly as traumatic. That time (about a year ago?) it woke me up at 1:30 a.m. shouting, “ATTENTION!!! THERE’S SMOKE IN THE LIVING ROOM!!! THE ALARM MAY GO OFF!!!”

I jumped out of bed and searched frantically for smoke but found none. The alarm never did go off and reset itself. About 20 minutes later I checked the app and it said something like, “Smoke has dissipated.” I went back to bed but didn’t get back to sleep very soon. The next day I had the company come out and inspect the furnace and alarm system but they could find nothing wrong.

I occasionally will smell smoke from the neighbors’ firepit in my house, but they would hardly have been using it at 1:30 on a weeknight, nor (I suspect) early this morning. There were no fires burning in the area on that occasion, either, although I have smelled them in my house at times (and there’s a fire about 20 miles from here which started yesterday). Ironically, the system has never gone off when I have smelled this smoke. But after that first time when the furnace people found nothing, I called the local fire department’s non-emergency number and explained what happened and asked if they could suggest a next step. They said they could come out when they had a lull period and inspect the house, which they did. They used these detectors that see through walls to check for hot wiring that might cause problems, as well as scanning all the appliances, and found nothing.

I’ve been reading online about problems with Nest. Apparently, what happened to me is not unknown. Sometimes the latest high tech is <i>not</i> a good thing. I’m considering having the whole damned thing yanked out. Of course this would happen when my cash flow ain’t great. That seems to be one of the rules for appliances of all kinds.

Typically, when I complained about this on Twitter, I was contacted shortly thereafter by Made By Google (@madebygoogle) offering help and asking me if I had a 1st generation product (which they’ve admitted elsewhere has problems). I do not have a 1st generation product. So. Make of that what you will.

First World problems, but frustrating nonetheless.

*
I may not pause to look at your pics/video of your kids, but I will always pause to look at your pics/videos of your cats and dogs. I do not dislike kids, it’s just that I really like cats and dogs.

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Sometimes when I go through the house and realize I’ve left a whole bunch of lights on I say to myself, “What, are we made of money?” Early programming never dies.

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I have never been, and never will be, the kind of writer who writes 10k in a day. That’s probably partly due to me being a pantser, figuring things out as I go, stopping here and there to do spot research. What did workmen wear in the 1940s? What sodas were popular? I don’t think I’ve ever written 10k in one day.

But I’ve consistently ground out the words every day. An average for me would be between 500-750 words, two to three pages, laying that yellow brick road down every day, and thereby I have completed 7 novels, and working on an 8th. Now and then I may have an effervescent day of 1200 words, or 3k. I think I once did 7500 in one day, but those are rare and precious moments of flow. And I’m okay with that. Slow and steady also gets the job done. This week I passed the 10k mark on my new novel. Feels good.

I write until I don’t know what happens anymore, then I stop. Overnight, maybe in my dreams, the story continues and the next day when I come back to my manuscript, I do know what happens next and I go until it stops. That’s my magic, and I’m glad to have it back again.

*
Sometimes I think it’s better to not understand things.

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I love how Jake Tapper characterizes Jordan: “the jacketless Jim Jordan who normally isn’t on this committee but was put onto it to be a bulldog.” That dog may hunt but he don’t never bring back the game.

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Jim Jordan reminds me of a guy who keeps a jar under his desk to urinate in.

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I like big rings and I cannot lie.

Nail polish: Blueprint by ILNP.com. I’d been wearing it for a couple of weeks when this picture was taken, so it was a little the worse for wear.

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It’s so odd writing again for characters I first created 5 novels ago (Jeremy, Susan, Carmina, Maff from Blood Geek). Kind of like meeting up with old friends you haven’t talked to in 20 years. You kind of know them, but you kind of don’t, and it’s partially getting to know them all over again but with this strange deja vu.
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Oh, criminy! The December 19 Democratic debate is going to be held about two blocks from here, at Loyola Marymount instead of UCLA. Looks like I don’t leave the house that day.
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The Lao Tzu quote I used for the November 8 random quote of the day is so ubiquitous that it appears on t-shirts and coffee mugs, but I couldn’t verify that he actually said it. I don’t normally like to use quotes I can’t verify because there’s already too much of that on the internet. And I try to avoid ubiquitous quotes altogether, because generally the more ubiquitous they are, the less likely they are to be an accurate attribution. But when I pulled this one out of my random quote file yesterday shortly after posting about learning to live with limitations on Twitter, I thought, “Okay, Universe, I get the message.” I felt I had to use it. So, “attributed to Lao Tzu” and adding to its ubiquitousness. (Any time I use “attributed to” it means I couldn’t verify the authenticity of the attribution but decided to use the quote anyway.)
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An interesting article on art and arthritis: https://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2019-07-26/art-arthritis-aging

We overcome what we must. I’m kind of in a place now where I’ve said to myself, “You can either limit yourself because of your legs [arthritis] or do what you are able to and not make excuses.” This is almost a daily argument I have with myself.

I think I finally turned the corner there (and I really am so much better off than so many others). I’m still limited but trying not to limit myself. It’s tough not to give in to despair and self-pity sometimes, though, when you can’t do things like you used to do. But that accomplishes nothing. The lady in the arthritis article come through it, too, after a requisite period of mourning.

Losing my eyesight would be utter devastation. I think of what it did to my mom. Her stroke left her with severe vision impairment and she’d been a visual artist all her life. But she never gave up, not until maybe the last six months of her life when other things started to take their toll.

I fear sight loss, too. But that’s a fear for another day, and not part of my current objective reality. We have to deal with what’s on our plate right now, and keep digging deep to find the resources to continue in some way to be who we truly are.
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If I had an RV, I’d call my RV Maria.
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Yoiks. So many talking heads in the chapter I’ve been working on, and characters standing around frozen until it’s their turn to talk. I look forward to the rewrites. A very long scene, and possibly told from the wrong POV, but talking heads are easy to write when you’re trying to get through a lot of information. Not so much interesting to read, though. I still look forward to the rewrites.
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People love to hate, and they love dancing around in their underwear feeling superior to everyone else.
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Here’s another interesting article: “Ancestor Worship with Mother Nature: How Indigenous Death Rituals Illuminate the Web of Life” by Maria Popova: https://www.brainpickings.org/2019/08/27/david-abram-the-spell-of-the-sensuous-death/
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The worst earworms are ones that play in your sleep and every time you wake up the tune starts up. Or is that just me? For a week, every time I woke up “My Darling Clementine” started playing in my head. I finally had to unleash extreme countermeasures by singing “Brandy” to myself until that replaced it. Lately, they have improved considerably. “Brandy” was replaced by “Look At Me,” which is heavy rotation on a VW commercial right now, then “Ave Maria,” also in heavy commercial rotation (Amazon). But that has now been replaced by Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem” which is not in a commercial but a gift from the gods. A much classier run of earworms.

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