Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Word for the Day - Inertia

It's bad. I spent the last couple days defining my goals for the year, month, week.

And today, I couldn't make myself write, outline, revise, or even read anything I've written. Now what? Will I just wake up tomorrow or the day after and be 'in the mood', inspired, ready? Can I do something to shake myself loose from this inertia that's grabbed me. I feel like a broken down railroad car, rusted to the tracks, going nowhere.

I have so much that needs to be done and RoDiWriMo begins in two days. How do I begin again?

Maybe I should go back to the way I started out. Longhand, the familiar and comforting feel of the pen in my hand, words free-flowing into a fresh notebook with the title written across the front.

But what title am I going to write on the front? What WIP is calling me? My inclination is to say none but that answer is unacceptable.

Monday, April 28, 2008


Okay, I was tagged by Leah to do this meme.

The rules:

a. Link to the person who tagged you.
b. Post the rules on your blog.
c. Write six random things about yourself.
d. Tag six random people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
e. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment at their blog.
f. Let your tagger know when your entry is up.

1. I was attacked by a psychopath in a Big Boy restaurant near the University of Maryland after I offered the guy a glass of water. CRAZY!

2. The doctors told my Mom she had ovarian cancer but she'd be okay with a little chemotherapy and my dad he had chronic leukemia and could live a long time with it. They were wrong about both. I spent most of the next few years in Florida with them, and wouldn't trade any of that time which allowed for reconciliation between us.

3. I directed a choir at the local Catholic church for four years - one of the nicest experiences of my life, even though I'm not Catholic.

4. Momma worked for NASA at Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland, so I got to meet astronauts and tour the place often in my teens. I always wanted to be the first woman on the moon - well, I guess I could till do that - huh?

That translated into a love of anything to do with fighter jets, flying... I made our grandson, Chad, watch TOP GUN at least twenty times. Now, he's an officer in the Navy over a squadron of aircraft. Interesting how you pass it down isn't it?

5. I was a natural in sales. My girlfriend from high school, Sue, used to kid me, saying," And it puts pennies in your pocket-book, too!" I sold cosmetics, long distance, burglar bars, fences, cars, trucks, mobile homes, and pools. I even figured out a way to draw the actual life sized pool in hot orange paint on the grass in the customer's backyard to entice them for days after I made my sales pitch.

6. I'm terrified of deep water, the ocean, the river, even the water park wave machine. Maybe that's why this thing with the Ms. River has me so worried, although usually people don't drown when a levee breaks - you just lose everything. So, no worries. lol

Too bad I don't know anybody else to tag. I'll work on that.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Favorite Writers Quote

You must learn to overcome your very natural and appropriate revulsion for your own work.

William Gibson

Oh, wow. Is that appropriate or what? That was supposed to be last Tuesday's quote but I had to work. That one needs to go on the computer as a reminder.

As Emily used to say, "And that's the twuth."

Thursday, April 24, 2008

River and Writing Update

Last night I dreamed that I was in danger of drowning in muddy gushing water. Every night since the river's been approaching record levels I've worried, dreamed, planned.

I alternately feel silly and terrified. Why aren't more people concerned? Why isn't everyone loading up and moving their stuff when someone who's been working on the levee says 'It's not looking good' and the radio announces emergency information on their website and instructs people not to panic.

I know - I'm the one who's been looking for bulletins, levee conditions, projections so I can plan what to do. Now, I'm just overwhelmed. And I understand why people aren't moving out. Why they continue to move about their day like everything's normal. Because where else would they go, en masse? Where can a third of a state just go, take their belongings, household, children, pets, vehicles and just wait in case something happens. Most don't have the resources to move preemptively.

The people here have lived within these levees for much longer than me. They've seen the river rise to record proportions several times, dealt with back water floods though never a levee breach until that big one in New Orleans. That affected a city. If a levee breaks in the central part of the state, they say a third of the state would be underwater.

My fear is that the apathy that has become so ingrained in our society toward our global economy, the continuing deterioration of our resources, rising gas prices, food shortages, politics is actually what's driving the lack of response in this case. But perhaps it's just a matter of faith.

So, I've carried my absolute 'can't lose' stuff to Mississippi (higher ground). I've moved my SEP and NR and DG books to the top of my closet wrapped in trash bags. (Along with my other KEEPERS and writing books because I know my husband would say, 'You're NOT carrying any books.')I've made lists of what to take if we have any time at all to pack.

All of this is playing havoc with my concentration. But I needed about a week break on MOL anyway. Leah helped me regain my footing when I was about to give up. So, as soon as next week rolls around I'll get back on it.

Please pray that the river holds.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Life Interruptus

I was beginning to feel guilty and a bit worried that I haven't accomplished the revision of my partial manuscript or any forward writing on my other wips. But then I took a realistic look at what I have been doing the past three weeks.

The carrier I sub for got married a couple weeks ago and I had to cover for her, then work the remaining days for Crawfish Man, either at the stand or making the seven hour drive south to pick up crawfish. Had to find time - about four days worth - to gather tax receipts for annual taxes, get monthly sales tax together, work on budget, pay bills and straighten my office, do some critiquing.

Then I was called in to learn a new route, two days of training, two still outstanding, and today, I had to plant those flowers I bought last week before the freeze. I was just too frigging tired to do much after that, even read, so you know I was exhausted.

One more blip on the radar. Tuesday, I will spend a few hours of my previously scheduled writing time loading my car with stuff to take to Mississippi on Wednesday. We're hearing that the National Guard and Corps of Engineers are trying to maintain the levee in St. Joseph about 30 minutes away. Someone said, "It's trying to slide into the river." The river is supposed to crest in Natchez tomorrow at 57, a foot higher than it's ever been.

The thing is - you can't make a plan of action other than a priority list because we are nearly surrounded by levees and depending on where it fails you have more or less lead time to get out, and different exit routes.

So, just as a precaution, I'll take a computer, my external hard drive, guitars, keyboard, jewelry, pictures to high ground Wednesday. And we've made a prioritized list of what we'll grab depending on how much time is allowed.

Hopefully, I'll get some work done tomorrow and next week I'll get back on track.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

River Update

As promised, I got a picture from River level inside the levee.

As you can see the river is nearly at eye level where I was standing beneath the bridge on the river side of the levee, just 60 feet from the water's edge.

Now this is what's scary. Right on the edge of the river on this level is a doctor's clinic, the new tourism center which you see in the background of the picture below, the riverwalk, a Comfort Inn, and new construction on a hospital. The parking lot, the road and the construction sight have water bubbling up through the ground.

See the sandbags on the road where the water is puddled.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

River Rising

The Mississippi River is still rising and is nearly as high as it's ever been. Tuesday they say it will crest at 56 which it's only achieved in 1927 and 1997 when we moved our stuff across the river to the high and dry Natchez. This picture is of the brand new Vidalia Tourism and Convention Center (the building on the left at the foot of the bridge). I took it from the bluff overlooking Vidalia, Louisiana.

When I crossed the bridge from work yesterday headed home, I could see that the water is nearly up to the top of the bank. The river stays between 15 and 30 feet most of the year.

An engineer told the local paper that "the levees are in good shape" (like he's supposed to panic everyone and tell us they're about to break) but "we have a tremendous amount of sand boils - which we're sandbagging." Asked if they were in good shape, he said, "Yes, but that can change in two minutes." How reassuring.

A sand boil is what happens when pressure on the sands under the levees give way from the ground being saturated for so long and the power of the river bubbles up through to the populated side of the levee. If these can't be controlled they can cause a breach in the levee much like a dam bursting.

Which - is why we're thinking about building a raft or at the very least taking some of our stuff to high ground like we did in 1997. 'Cause there's still water and snow coming down the Mississipi from states north.

At least I have it on good authority that if the levee did give somewhere - and if you have prompt warning - you have time to get away.

This afternoon I'm going to the riverwalk by the river to get a close up view. I'll update tomorrow.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Three Flying Monkeys

Three things I like about me:
1. My hair, redheads identify with their hair, it's a part of the personality.
2. I'm enthusiastic. My 'son-grandson' says I'm easily entertained by little things which I don't think is an insult. We should take pleasure in little things, sometimes that's all there is to take pleasure in.
3. My voice. I finally accepted the fact a few years ago that I have an exceptional soprano voice. I should have done more with it. Oh well.

Three things I should want to improve:
1. My increasing lack of compassion.
2. My increasing lack of interest in housekeeping. I'm lying, I've always been disinterested in it, but it's still increasing. Ha!
3. My increasing lack of interest in working. It's not like I'm retired or independently wealthy. And I'm plenty motivated to write.
4. I know I'm breaking the rules, but I never used to break rules, so what the heck. WEIGHT goes without saying. More exercise, less food.

Three flying monkey things about me:
1. I have an exceptional almost photographic memory for things I see and hear. But if you ask me to a party tomorrow I probably won't remember it until next week. And I've been known to write something and swear that someone else wrote it later.
2. You just about can't get me lost. I can remember landmarks from years before and have a good sense of direction but can never tell North from South. They say that's a female-male spatial thing.
3. Going for it. Whether it's a heavy job meant for younger people, or deciding to pursue writing after years of working, I'm putting fear behind me and going for my passion. I believe we can achieve our dreams or God wouldn't have given them to us, we truly wouldn't be able to conceive of them.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Alien flowers

I have proof that at least one alien woman has been here. No earthling bred this flower!

Went to pick up more tomatoes for Crawfish Man to plant and when I saw all the pretty flowers I just had to have a few - $50 worth to plant around my writing space by the bayou.

Gorgeous impatiens, a new orange daisy, petunias in pinks and reds, an azalea that blloms three times a year and this little outerspace flower. Isn't it cool?

Fortunately for my writing schedule we have another cold spell coming tonight and tomorrow night so I won't get to plant them until later in the week. I'll update my bayou pictures when everything blooms.

Today I have to worry about chapter 2 of MOL revision and writing something new, probably RCM. I'll report my progress later.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Partial revisions

My goal for submission of my partial manuscript of MOL is no later than June 30. Crawfish season will be over. Work should be a little slower and I should have my revisions complete for a final look by early May.

My meter for the 50 pages of the partial.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Creativity R&R

I've been finding myself very frustrated at not beginning anything new just going round after round on a project I used to love and now... well, you know. Maybe you're in revision hell at the end of a finished project. Or maybe you're in the muddy middle of your current WIP (or two).

Either way I'll bet you could use a little new project escape. So I'd like to challenge you to allow yourself a little R&R, a new project retreat to stimulate the writer's senses and break out of the stale current work into the glorious realm of 'something fresh'.

Once a week for one month - on your worst writing day, your most intensive family day or at lunch every Wednesday, write something new. A scene, some dialogue, a character description. Long hand, pc hand, short hand, or on a napkin. A paragraph or a page a week, surely it will become more.

I've been collecting 'ideas' on my handy digital voice recorder but like Heather Sellers says in her book, "Chapter after Chapter", an idea is in the head. For it to ever to become a creative written endeavor, it must be written. '

Instead of writing notes like 'a story about a babsitter' write: Dana said, "You didn't pay me last time, either, Heather." And she smacked that gum which seemed to be a weird striped gum, green and purple, both. Transition out of ideas into images.'

So, on a day when there's too much scheduled to be constructive on the revisions, I'll schedule in a short creative writing session with some of these stored up ideas and work them into images. Please share how this works for you.

I think I'll feel enthused and pumped and who knows - maybe it will turn into my next WIP. I'll let you know next week how I do on RCM.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Favorite Writers Quote

"How vain it is to sit down to write if you have not stood up to live."

Henry David Thoreau

Thursday, April 3, 2008

That little Google inconvenience

I've been very aggravated at the inconvenience of Google's removing the link to my personal blog, so I've created a work around that works for me.

I sign into my Google mail (signing into Igoogle might do the trick) and then click on the toolbar link I created previously to my posting, settings, layout tabs while I was logged in to that page).

And Bop, one button to my posts which is normally where I want to go anyway.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Favorite Writers Quote

Don't tell me the moon is shining; show me the glint of light on broken glass.

~Anton Chekhov