Sunday, September 25, 2011

I'm Magic, Baby

Today was the last day of Lani's Making Magic class.  We talked about Discovery and how important that is to your writing.  Very inspiring stuff.  (I'm still a little unclear about the difference between Magic and Discovery, especially since two of the homework assignments are the same, but if it gets the juices flowing I guess it doesn't matter.)  I have lots of ideas bouncing around in my head, and I'm pretty sure those ideas are going to lead to other ideas which will eventually lead to a good story.

Yay, me!

Next weekend the Discovery class starts.  The first lesson is Soundtracks.  I might refine the one I've already put together in Magic.  I've already done a little bit of fiddling with it.  But mostly I want to poke around in tropes and with my collage (which is still 99% in my head and 0% assembled.)

Have I shared my soundtrack yet?  Here it is:

Back to December- Taylor Swift
Fuck You- Cee Lo Green
Hit the Road Jack- Ray Charles
Human Heart- Carey Ott
If We Ever Meet Again- Katy Perry/Timbaland
Last Christmas- Glee Cast
Lush Life- Natalie Cole
Make You Feel My Love- Adele
Need You Now- Lady Antebellum
Turning Tables- Adele
Valerie- Amy Winehouse
What'll I Do- Rosemary Clooney
Breathe- Melissa Etheridge
Come On Up To the House- Sarah Jarosz
St. Patrick's Day- John Mayer
Big Bang Theory- Barenaked Ladies

St. Patrick's Day and Big Bang Theory are new additions.  St. Patrick's Day sparked a thought about structure (believe it or not), and led to some interesting (IMO) changes and plans.  I'm not 100% sure Big Bang Theory really belongs, although it sort of feels like it does.  Don't know why yet.  Mostly I just added it because I started watching the show this week (one of the local channels started airing two episodes a day during the "everyone else is running the evening news" time slot).  I don't know how I missed this show before. It's very funny, and the theme song is fucking addictive.  I figured, if I'm going to be humming the damn thing constantly anyway, might as well add it to the soundtrack.  I'd been thinking that Ethan was perhaps a tad bit nerdy, and this just reinforces it.  (Oh, please God, tell me I'm not going to have to learn how to play some table top, roll playing, 20 sided die game as research.  I love me some nerd boy, but that is totally not my thing.)

I think Breathe is going to have to come off the soundtrack, though.  The more I listen to all of it, the more I think that it's the other guy's song, not Ethan's.  And while some of those songs speak to the relationship as a whole, this is mostly Ethan's soundtrack.  The other guy will have his own soundtrack later.

Oh, oh, oh!  Good news!  The Other Guy has a name!  He's Jack.  It was right there, staring me in the face, and I finally got it.  (Hit the Road Jack.)

I think that's about all the writing news I have at the moment.  Eventually I'll get the collage done(ish), and I'll post a picture of that.  Oh, and while we're supposed to be working on soundtracks, which I feel pretty solid about at the moment, I'll be working on Kelley Armstrong's Outlining 101.  It's fabulous.  This is the program I followed (in my own special, Becky-ish way) in 2007, which was by far my best, most productive NaNo year.  (National Novel Writing Month for anyone unfamiliar.)  I want to mesh some of Lani's Magic/Discovery work with Kelley's Outlining 101 to hopefully get me on the right track and revved up for November 1st.  (I hadn't been planning to NaNo this year, but what the hell.  And since I'm off in my own world, doing my own thing and making it up as I go along, I might just start before Nov 1!  I know.  I'm such a rebel!)

If you're interested in checking out Kelley's writing info, go to her website,, and join her forum and the OWG (Online Writing Group).  That's where you'll find her NaNo prep stuff, as well as lots of talented and welcoming fellow writers.

And now I think I really am done.  Pretty jazzed about all the work ahead of me.  But it's fun work.  Fwerk!

Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Think I Broke Myself


From now on my parents aren't allowed to have birthdays a week apart anymore.  I've been out of the house more in the last two weeks than probably the last six months.  Today should be the last for a while.  Mom and I went to Walmart so that I could pick up a Wii game for Dad.  And I needed some OTC meds, and a birthday card, and some conditioner.

Basically, it was the first time I've been to Walmart with my own money in over a year.  So I bought stuff.  And I wore myself out.  I'd just barely recovered from all the running around last week, and now I'm going to be spending the next couple of days in bed and in pain again.  I got all sweaty (a major sign that I'm over doing it), and I'm too tired and too ouchy to get a shower.  So I guess I'm just going to have to sleep sticky tonight and hope that I can manage it tomorrow.

And then Saturday is Dad's birthday dinner.

I'm taking my sleeping pill early tonight.  If I'm lucky maybe I'll sleep 'til Tuesday.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It Breaks My Heart

Another gay teen has committed suicide, at least in part due to bullying.  Jamey Rodemeyer was subjected to online harassment such as: " JAMIE IS STUPID, GAY, FAT ANND UGLY. HE MUST DIE!" and "I wouldn't care if you died. No one would. So just do it :) It would make everyone WAY more happier!"

How is this happening?  Bullying isn't exactly a new problem.  I went through some fairly significant harassment as a kid, although it had nothing to do with my sexuality.  But this is so vicious.  I can't imagine any reason, any justification for telling someone to go kill themselves.  Where is the human decency?  It takes purpose and energy to be this horrible.  These aren't careless statements.  It's not dragging someone else down to make yourself feel better.  This is just evil.

What can be done about this?  How do you stop the evil?  I suspect it's going to take updating laws to hold people responsible for their online behavior.  That takes time and probably won't help the next Jamey Rodemeyer, who is being harassed right this minute.  The only thing I can think of that can make a difference right now is to support, with your money and your time, the various anti-bullying and gay-support groups out there.  The Trevor Project is a national organization specifically working on the problem of gay teen suicide.  GLAAD and PFLAG are working on all kinds of issues in the gay community.  There are also lots of local organizations.  ALSO Out Youth is a group in Sarasota, FL that is doing good work with teens and could really use your support.  And the Gay & Lesbian Youth Services of Western New York is the group in Jamey Rodemeyer's hometown.

If you've got other ideas about how to fix this problem, please share them.  Because something must be done.  And if there's a group in your area doing good work with at risk teens, please spread the word.  These groups need all the support they can get.

Here's an article with more info about Jamey: teenager struggled with bullying before taking his life.

Saturday, September 17, 2011


I don't remember if I told you this or not (I started to write a post about it, fairly sure that I never finished), but I'm taking one of Lani's writing classes, Making Magic.  Last week we worked on soundtracks, this week we're doing collages.  I'm not visually artistic, so I'm struggling a bit. (Well, except for knitting, but that's more about following a pattern and mastering the mechanics.  You're on your own with collage.)

I'm supposed to be picking placeholders-- pictures of people, often actors, who represent the characters.  Sometimes it's the look, sometimes it's about the attitude or personality.  Whatever you need to help you make that person real in your head, until they take over and become their own person.  (People who've done much in the way of fiction writing will know what I mean.)

One of my characters, Ethan, is coming in pretty strong for me right now.  This is his story, told from his point of view.  He had this great boyfriend who dumped him suddenly right before Christmas, and he can't get over it.  He's bitter.  He doesn't understand why.  And now Christmas is coming around again, and so is the ex.  My big problem with Ethan is that I can't settle on what he looks like.  He's kind of an amorphous blob at the moment.  He shifts every time I look too close.  I can feel what he's feeling and know what he's thinking, but he won't let me see his face.

I have an image for the ex.  He's a pilot, I think.  I don't know what his name is yet.  So far he's been Dave, Dan, and Brad.  None of them fit.  So I'm just going to keep playing the "what name pops into my mind first" game periodically, and see what else comes up.  My biggest problem with Dave/Dan/Brad is that I don't know what is motivating him.  He basically walked out on Ethan, completely gone, out of his life, a couple days before Christmas.  Why?  What made him do that?  As far as Ethan is concerned, it was a douchey thing to do.  I know Dave/Dan/Brad had a reason for behaving that way.  It's got to be realistic, understandable, and redeemable.  Because I want these two guys together again.  But I don't know what the reason is.

What could make someone walk out on a relationship so suddenly?  What would make them change their mind a year later?  In my mind it feels like commitment phobia.  But does anyone want a hero who walks away utterly, no contact at all, and then appears a year later and says he wants you back?  How do you justify it?  How do you forgive it?

I did have one big revelation today.  It has to do with the structure of the story.  The first part is unquestionably Ethan's.  He's a teacher, so the story starts off at the beginning of the school year.  As the school year progresses, he finds himself rehashing the relationship.  Remembering the good times, re-examining those moments that might have been warning signs of what was to come.  Because he was really hit out of the blue when Dave/Dan/Brad walked away.  As we get closer to Christmas and the one year anniversary of the break up, Ethan gets madder.  The story ends with Dave/Dan/Brad knocking on the door a year after he left.  (You can play with stuff like this in m/m.  There's a lot more flexibility.  But it would never fly in mainstream romance.)

The second part of the story picks up from there.  It's all told from Dave/Dan/Brad's point of view.  (I really need to get a name for this guy.)  It will also cover two parallel time lines, his build up to walking out a year ago and his present struggle to get Ethan to take him back, with a little dash of how much he missed him after walking out.

So for the immediate future, I'm not too bad.  Ethan's story is first, and while I can't see him very well, I can feel him.  My biggest concern is that without knowing for sure what's going on with the Other Guy (I just can't type that list of names again-- it's getting depressing), I can't layer it in at all.  But then, Ethan is also clueless about what happened, so maybe it's not too bad.  More a question of whether or not I want to clue the reader in before Ethan figures everything out.  (That balance between letting the reader feel smart for figuring it out without making the character look dumb for not figuring it out.)

So.  Thoughts?  Why do people just get up and walk out one day, and what changes inside to let them come back?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Where No Blog Has Gone Before

There are many subjects I've addressed on this blog that have had certain readers reaching for the brain bleach.  My hemorrhoids.  Farkle the Friendly Carbuncle.  Probably some other stuff that's not coming to mind at the moment.  But there's one thing I haven't addressed: sex.

That's hard for me.  Although you may doubt this considering some of the other things I've chosen to share, I really am a very private person.  I have a hard time putting myself out there, expressing my desires, and I think it's the biggest reason why at 36 I still have limited relationship experience.  I hide it all behind a wall, and I've been told that reserve can be pretty intimidating.  That boggles my mind, because I often feel too intimidated to reach out.  (Actually, that bit crosses over into platonic relationships.  It's scary for me sometimes even to hold a hand out in friendship.  Once I push through that self-imposed barrier I usually do OK.  But making first contact is *hard*.  And it's almost as hard to reach out a second time if for some reason communication peters off.)

I'm not quite sure how I ended up on that tangent.  That's not where I was heading with this.  I guess maybe I just wanted to say that this is an area that I'm not the most comfortable getting personal about.

My current situation-- disabled, mid-thirties, living with puritanical parents-- doesn't make having a sex life easy, even the kind that doesn't require a partner.  It's a pretty neglected area of my life.

The last few days have been unusual to say the least.  In the normal run of things I leave the house about once a month.  In the last three days I've been to Michaels, Hobby Lobby (twice), Meijer, the vet, my brother's house (briefly), Buca di Beppo to pick up dinner, and then Mom's birthday dinner at home last night.  By the time my brother and sister-in-law left around 10 I was completely exhausted and in major pain.

And then I got online.  I got a wild hair and wandered over to a personals site that I poke around at every once in a while.  I had a couple of lovely, raunchy conversations, and by the time I logged off I was a new woman.  I was relaxed.  I felt good, with far less pain than I'd had in days.  My feel good still isn't normal.  If I think about it I realize that I have a low-level, nagging headache, and my body still hurts.  But the change is amazing.

I'm not sure what I'm trying to say here.  Maybe I just needed to tell someone how wonderful this was.  Maybe I need to start cracking open this part of my life.  It's not something that I plan to go into intimate detail about.  But just acknowledging that I have sexual desires instead of keeping it all locked down tight feels like a good first step.  It helps that I still feel, for me, fucking fantastic.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Oh, Lawsy

It's been an oh, lawsy kind of day.

I've got a friend who is scheduled to pop sometime in October.  She's been on bedrest for a while now, and she had to see the doctor today for possible preeclampsia.  (For anyone unfamiliar with pregnancy stuff, that's not good.)  I was very happy to hear just a little bit ago that the baby is a-ok.  They are talking about inducing her on the 27th, but the doc thinks the baby may come sooner.

Oh, lawsy.  I'm going to have to get it in gear if I'm going to get my gift to the baby before she arrives.  We call her mama Diva, and it surprises me not at all that her Sweet Pea is looking to make a grand entrance.

I got an email from my sister-in-law late this evening.  She's invited me to join a Bible study that starts tomorrow.  Oh, lawsy.  I want to be social.  I appreciate the invitation and that she wants to include me.  But a once a week Bible study is pretty much the exact last thing I want to do.

Suggestion on this one would be much appreciated.  Do I politely decline the first away-from-the-rest-of-the-family overture from her, or do I say yes and spend 2 hours a week for the next month studying something I'm actively resistant to learning?

Wednesday is my mother's birthday.  Got an email from Amazon.  Estimated delivery date on her present is Thursday.  Oh, lawsy.

This morning I went out for the first time in a month to check out craft supplies for the collage I'm supposed to be making for my writing class.  First place I go is Michaels, with 50% off coupons in hand.  I can't find a single thing I'm looking for, and every single employee is in a staff meeting at the back of the store, so I can't find anyone to help me.  Oh, lawsy.

So I slog next door to Hobby Lobby, where they have exactly what I want, well organized and all in the same section, and multiple staff members in the aisles, ready to help me find stuff.  I spent some money, got exactly what I wanted, and got out.  But not before becoming completely exhausted and overheated.  Oh. lawsy.  Too much.  Next time I'm skipping Michaels, I don't care how good the coupons are.

See what I mean?  It was an oh, lawsy kind of day.

Lip Balm of the Day: Orange Snowballs

Friday, September 02, 2011

Check Out My Giant Balls!

Ha, ha!  Made you look!

I've been making pretty good progress on my shawl, and I got my dad to take a picture of it this evening.  (Still haven't found my camera.)

It starts really small in the middle (in the pink section) and grows by a couple of stitches every other row.  At this point there are too many stitches to stretch it out on the cord and let you get a good look.  But the pattern makes it wavy-- it's called feather & fan-- it's not because it's all crunched up

This is the result of my first, slightly larger than fist-sized, ball of yarn.  I spent a good chunk of yesterday afternoon and evening winding two more, and here's the result:

My giant balls!

It's hard to tell, because there's nothing to give you a sense of scale.  But these are approximately the size of large grapefruit.  And the yarn is sock yarn, also known as fingering weight.  That's much thicker than thread, but on the finer end for yarn.  Which means that there's a hell of a lot of yardage in each ball.  I don't think that  there's enough here to finish my shawl (I want the long edge, the wing span if you will, to be 5'7), but it should probably keep me knitting for a week and a half to two weeks.  And then it will be time to wind more balls.


Oh, and the lip balm of the day is Peacock Puffs.  That translates to lime, blueberry, and cake flavor.  (I always have to look that one up.)