Such Stuff as Dreams Are Made On

Most writers will tell you that, by the very nature of the work, they are solitary creatures. Writing is a lonely business, and you have to be comfortable spending many hours inside your own head, rattling around like a ghost in an attic. It can be unnerving at times, hard to face head-on what's in there. Your memories and experiences define you as a human being and an artist, but constantly re-examining all of that shit is not easy.

Sometimes I worry that I'm slipping away from the things that should matter to me. I get so wrapped up in self-examination that I forget about the world around me. My family helps; when they come home at the end of the day they force me back into reality, force me to wake up and blink in the sunlight. That's a good thing. I think that if I lived alone I'd end up one of those crazy recluse artists whom no one appreciates until they're dead because they're loony as a tune.

It's who I am, though. I don't believe I could define myself without that part. Otherwise, I'm only the collection of things and impressions that people on the outside see. I'm a friend, a lover, a mom, a neighbor. But none of those things feel real to me. The writer, the introspect, the crazy cat lady living inside my head - that's who I am to ME. In some ways it's frightening; in others, it's incredibly comforting. Walking that line is where the art happens.

Yesterday I finished a new flash piece, "Invicta", and sent it off to be judged and hopefully not found wanting. If it doesn't sell I may post it on the website as a freebie, just because it's short, easy, and I really like it. I also got through notes and outlines of three stories, two of which could actually turn out to be book ideas. A good day, all in all, despite the unsettling notions sliding around in my head.

I've been tired lately, bone tired. All I've wanted to do for several days is sleep. I suspect it has something to do with a medication change this week, and I'm almost to the point of saying fuck it to the whole thing. I'll give it a few more days to work itself out first. I'm going to the farmstead tomorrow to work on the giant renovation project, then back here Sunday for a day off. I may or may not post, though my money is on next week.

Until then I sleep, and I dream...

24 April 2009

You Say That I Should Care

Finally back at home after a week or so of driving two hours nearly every day to the farmstead, working six or so hours, followed by another two hours home. It's been tough, but very gratifying, to see the place slowly creep back into shape. We have cleaned and replanted several of the front flower beds, raked and burned literally acres of leaves and pine straw, and started the LONG and arduous task of renovating the main house, which we hope to turn into a quasi-retreat. It's been bittersweet but nice to come home. For the first time in my life I feel I have ownership there, and that makes the place seem even more special. It truly is a beautiful piece of land, 10 acres smack dab in the middle of nowhere. A wonderful place for my kids to be kids in the old-fashioned sense, skinned knees, toads and all. A wonderful place to sit, listen to the wind in the trees, and just bask in the quiet. Will post pictures soon.

Today is for catching up on answering mail, paying bills, and writing. I need to finish the revisions on The Graveyard Road and send it out into the wild, something I should have done last week. When that is done I'm going to buckle down and finish the first draft of this novel. It must, nay will, be done by the end of the year. "Or else, what?" the cat asks.

Hell if I know.

17 April 2009

Our Souls Are a Myriad of Wars

The last couple of days have been full of revisions and revisions of "The Graveyard Road", and now, frankly, I'm sick of it. I've read the story so many times that it's become meaningless, like when you say the same word over and over again. I can't make sense of it anymore; can't judge where I am or what I've created at all. So, I've put it to bed, sent it off nice and cozy to the SFF Online Writing Workshop. A few fresh eyes will help tremendously. Hopefully, I'll be able to send it out into the wild again next week.

Tonight the kidlets head off to their Dad's house, and the LOML and I will have a few days together, which is always nice. No R & R, though, as we'll be heading out to the farmstead to work on putting the pieces back together again. It's ten acres out in RURAL Louisiana that belonged to my parents - the place where I grew up. In recent years it's fallen into major disrepair, so we've decided to jump in and restore things. This weekend, the first of many, I'm sure, will be mainly spent just securing the place and starting cleanup. Long term plans involve restoring/expanding the gardens, pond, and houses. It's a HUGE project, and neither of us is sure where it will end up. I'm excited about it though, I have to admit. There is true solitude there, not something to be found very often in our modern, shiny new world. Would be nice to have a place to go to where I can find the quiet again occasionally.

Last night we fired up WOW for the first time on our laptops, playing side by side in bed. We didn't have the advantage of the big monitors in our office, but it was certainly more cozy. We didn't do much, just some housekeeping and item swapping betwixt and between our characters, followed by a single little quest in the wilds of Durotar. Still, it was fun. Hoping to get more playing in over the next few days as the kidlets are on spring break and I won't have to get up at crack-thirty every single morning.

And now, for your viewing enjoyment, one of my favorite a-ha songs. Alas, there was never a true video made, and this version isn't as good as the one on the album, but you can at least get the idea:

09 April 2009

It Will Make My Body Dissolve Out In the Blue

Somewhat of a nonstarter today. Between getting nothing done on the 'tedious minutiae of life' front this weekend (for the uninitiated, that means paying bills, filling out misc forms, the general blah, blah, blah of everyday life), catching up on housework, and leftover exhaustion from yesterday (more on that in a minute), the day was over before it ever got started. This afternoon, normally one of my most productive times, was taken up with kidlet activities.

The exhaustion comes from the fact that on a SUNDAY morning, the LOML and I got up at the crack of dawn and drove 3 hours to do a day of maintenance and yard work on our rental property in Slidell. The LOML replaced the broken doorbell and front porch light, as well as cleaned the gutters and installed guards on them. I, meanwhile, removed a couple of flower beds, dug up umpteen bulbs, flowers, and shrubs, and pruned the navel orange and mayhaw trees. Then we had the joy of packing up all of the plants I uprooted (as a diehard gardener there was NO WAY I was going to let all those perfectly good plants go to waste) and drive another 3 hours back home, followed by unloading said plants, taking care of kidlets, and falling, exhausted, into bed at 10pm. So, as you can imagine, I am sore from head to toe today.

On top of everything else, the weather was dreadful today. Sunny, crystal blue skies (the evil kind - hard and cold like diamond) coupled with howling winds blowing sustained at 25mph with gusts (every two minutes or so) of 35mph or higher. I swear, my vision of Hell is a place where the dust-filled wind blows unceasingly. Tonight a light frost is expected, so I've had to protect all my recently planted warm weather vegetables. Oh, and did I mention the recent plague of flies?

It's all conspired to put me in a foul and unforgiving mood for the evening. As soon as the kidlets are squared away I'm taking a warm shower and sequestering myself in my nice warm bed with my laptop and my writing. Even at its worst, writing is my joy and my release.

06 April 2009

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