Sunday, January 29, 2012

Frog in a Party Hat

I finished a new knitting project tonight.  Don't adjust your screens, it really is this bright.

OK, maybe the color doesn't come through really well in this picture, but trust me, it's BRIGHT.

The pattern is Sockhead, and the name of the colorway is Frog in a Party Dress, so I've named this Frog in a Party Hat.  It's nice and cozy, but not so heavy that I couldn't wear it in spring or fall as a fashion statement.  (You know me, I'm all about the fashion statement.)  I'm quite satisfied with this hat, and I expect that there will be more Sockheads to come.  And I already have plans for the leftover yarn, of which there is a fair bit.  A book of sock patterns came in the mail today, and there's a really cute one that calls for just a little bit of a contrasting color.  This pink and green yarn should be almost a shock of color against a black yarn.  Or maybe  it will work against some deep purple I have in my stash.  We'll see.

My brother and sister-in-law came for dinner tonight.  Jer's birthday is in mid-February, and he very humbly requested another pair of heavy house socks.  He asked for a pair for Christmas, and he loves them so much that he hasn't been willing to skip wearing them around the house long enough to get them washed!  Clearly, this is a guy who needs at least one more warm pair of handknit socks.

Lip Balm of the Day: Pink Cake

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Collage

I finally got my act together and assembled the collage for the story I'm doing for Fast Draft!  Here's the picture:

I'm sure the text is too small to read, so the top one is a quote from the beginning of The Hobbit.  It says:

This is a story of how a Baggins had an adventure, and found himself doing and saying things altogether unexpected.  He may have lost the neighbors' respect, but he gained-- well, you will see whether he gained anything in the end.

The other one says:

"Nothing Happens without risk."  Anne Packard

It's on a magnetic board, and the round things are all magnets I made for the collage.  Some are just pictures, but most of them say something, like "Keep Calm and Rock On" or "Keep Calm and Do It Anyway".  A couple are Big Bag quotes, including "I'm clearly too evolved for driving" and "I am not crazy, my mother had me tested".

The pictures all represent a character or group of characters or some aspect of the story.  The big 3 is to remind me that in stories, things often happen in threes.  So if I'm stuck, look for something that needs to repeat.

I guess that's it.  If you have any questions about any of the images, or can't tell what they are (the overall picture may be a little small if you don't already know what you're looking at), just ask.

I've already procrastinated the day away, so I'm going to go poke at a blank page and see if I can't at least rack up a few words before bed.

Lip Balm of the Day: White Cranberry

Monday, January 16, 2012

Jumping In, Head First

I've been amping myself up, in secret, for doing Fast Draft.

In secret because I can't stand the idea of my parents knowing about my writing.  1. Because it immediately comes with the high pressure nagging to start submitting stories to publishers.  (Bugging someone to submit before they're ready is not helpful.)  And 2. Because I know that they would thoroughly disapprove of what I plan to write.  It would be a hard enough secret to keep if I wasn't living with them and I got a story published.  But, emotionally, living with my parents is like living as an exhibit at the zoo.  Everything is know and noticed.  There's no mental privacy.  If they knew I was writing, they'd want to read it.  If they knew it was published they'd want to buy it and read it and tell their friends.  And while I feel no shame at all in what I read and intend to write, they'd be deeply ashamed of it, which gets in my head and scrambles it.

So, anyway, I was telling you how I was getting myself mentally prepared for Fast Draft.  That's two weeks of pedal-to-the-metal writing.  5,000 words a day is the goal.  (Although I give myself full permission to do less if that's beyond my limits.  But I want to stretch myself and see if that's possible.  If not, less is more than none.)  I've been mostly just *thinking* about writing.  Thinking about what music is inspiring me right now, looking at images that I might want to add to a collage.  Stuff like that.

And then last week, out of the blue, my parents start hassling me at dinner about my writing.  Now I admit, I have a pretty thin skin when it comes to anything that I'm trying to do and keep to myself.  If I hadn't been thinking about trying to write again it probably would have rolled right off my back.  But with that writing desire so close to the surface it upset me a lot.  My immediate response (which I did not voice, because even if they'd just "ruined it" for me, I still didn't want them to know what I was thinking about doing) was to not do it.  To give up.  I was pretty pissed for a while.

Today I said, "screw it," and I signed up for Fast Draft anyway.  I'm just going to have to find a way to put up steel bars, castle walls, and a moat all around me, to protect what I need to be intensely private from the intrusion of the unwelcome.  I'm not quite sure how I'm going to manage that without creating A Thing in the house.  Like the Mom in Everybody Loves Raymond, my mother has a very limited sense of boundaries, and feels that everything is her business.  I don't particularly want to deal with butt hurt while simultaneously attempting to write a novel.

So that's my frustration at the moment.  In lighter news, I did a bit of pre-work today by poking around looking for songs for the soundtrack and images for the collage.  I'm loving it all, although the whole thing is a bit schizophrenic.  Tone and imagery are all over the place.  I'm hoping that some of this settles into a semi-coherent something between now and next Sunday, when the class starts.

Like I said before, the goal is 5,000 words a day.  That's 70,000 words over the course of two weeks.  Not unheard of, but quite a bit longer than the average m/m story.  So I'm thinking, if the 5,000 words per day turns out to be doable, I'll end up writing two stories.  The first one I'm thinking of is the riff on The Hobbit that I toyed around with and wrote a few lines for last November during NaNo.  I plan to read The Hobbit this week, as soon as I find my old copy, make it to the used bookstore to get another copy, or break down and pay the outrageous $10.99 that Penguin is asking for a Kindle copy.  I really want a digital copy, but not at that price.

The idea for the second story came directly out of all the image searching I did today.  I'm thinking either A Rare Duck or An Odd Duck for the title.  A guy who collects rubber ducks is searching for one particular, rare duckie, and another guy is trying to block him from having it.  First thought was that something was smuggled into the country inside the duck.  Second thought is that maybe he's on some weird, Amazing Race type hunt, and he's looking for a clue hidden in the duckie.  I'm not sure, but I've got a week to figure this stuff out.

As a thank you for making your way through all this rambling mess, here is a video with one of the songs I've picked for the soundtrack and a few of the images I have so far.  You'll see what I mean about them not fitting together in tone AT ALL.  But this is what it is, so I've got to work with it.

Sarah Jarosz is a relatively new discovery of mine, and I completely adore her.  So talented.

Eyeliner Dude

I was going to put the crazy guys in the Hobbit story in a
van with a wizard painted on the side, but I thought that
was a little on the nose. So maybe they'll drive one painted
like the A Team van. Or maybe the Mystery Machine, who knows.

Cool Joe Duck

Love Duck

Vintage airplanes. Not sure where I'm going with this one
*at all*.

Disco Ducks!

Someone in this story has a dog?
Who knew?

Rockin' duck toilet seat

Christmas cookies, because who ever heard of too many
Christmas cookies?

And now, some more pretty boys.

I have him labeled as "Brad". Not sure
who Brad is, but I'll figure it out eventually.

This lovely specimen is apparently "Ethan". 

Not sure who this is yet, but he's got
attitude to spare.

Gotta love a kiss.

And this guy is just hot and wearing
a scarf.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Pick a Color, Any Color

I've bleached a stripe in my hair for maximum color impact.  Now I just need to settle on which color I want to use!  (Bear in mind that the rest of my hair is now a deep auburn.  She went more chocolate brown and less red this time.  Next time I think I'll have her scale back on the brown and add a bit more red.)

So, here are the choices I'm looking at.

After Midnight Blue

Purple Haze

Ultra Violet

Electric Lizard

Shocking Blue

New Rose

Pretty Flamingo

I know I want the green, but I'm torn on the others.  I like them ALL, but several of them are pretty close, and it wouldn't necessarily make sense to buy them all at once.  What do you think?  Which ones should I go for?

Update: Just for Julie (and her sister), I've edited so that we're talking about hair color, not dye.  The weather has been yuck, so I haven't had a chance to go out and get anything yet.  I know I definitely want Electric Lizard and Shocking Blue, but I'm thinking I might go for some Purple Haze or Pretty Flamingo, too.  Kind of depends on what I can find and how expensive it all is.

Monday, January 09, 2012

2011 Wordle

I meant to post this last week sometime, but you know how stuff gets away from me.  It's a Wordle of the titles and authors of all the books I read in 2011.  Pretty clear who made my "most read" list, huh?

Wordle: Reading List 2011

Sorry it's so small.  If you click on it, you'll go to the Wordle page with a larger image.

Thursday, January 05, 2012

Coolest Card EVAR!

Check this out!  I got the coolest card in the mail today.

Does that not just rock?  I think this one is going to have to go on my permanent magnet board, once I get the damn thing hung again.

In other news, I don't have much news.  I'm reading A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant, which is pretty amazing so far.  There's been a lot of buzz about this one, and if the rest stays as good as what I've read so far, it will be totally deserving.  I'll let you know how it goes.

I saw on twitter that Candace Havens is getting ready to run another Fast Draft class, and I'm seriously considering signing up.  Has anyone taken it?  Any advice?  Apparently the idea of the class is that you're supposed to write 5,000 words a day, so at the end of the two weeks, you should have a 70,000 word first draft.  That's one unusually long m/m romance, or quite possibly two average-ish length ones.  I'm not sure if I'm up for that kind of pressure, but it sure would be a kick in the ass to get writing.  And the class is only $20, so it's not like it's a huge financial investment.  (Although a significant time investment if I'm really going to do it.)

As far as the rest of my resolutions go, the cleaning one isn't going exactly as I planned, but I am making progress.  Today was trash day, and I managed to ditch a whole trash bag full of crap.

I have the next knitting project for myself planned out, but I'm trying to wrap up a few ongoing projects before I start it.

The "read less" resolution is in the toilet.  I looked at my little red book, and as of the first of the year I only had 295 books to read to reach 1,000 since I started logging them.  I think I'd rather hit 1,000 this year, so 295 is my new goal.  I have, however, managed to not buy a book for 5 whole days.  That's pretty good for me lately.

Let's see.  What else?  I haven't done any exercise since that little bout on the Wii last week.  I haven't bothered with the picture a day thing, either, although I'm still enjoying taking pictures with my Samsung thingie.  Mostly of the cat.

I think that's everything new and interesting.  Or even not so interesting.  I'm not even wearing any lip balm today!

Monday, January 02, 2012

What I Want

I think this picture expresses pretty perfectly what I want for myself in 2012.

I used to dream.  I dreamed that I'd at least walk, if not run, the Disney marathon.  I dreamed of settling down and raising a family.  I dreamed of being a published author someday.  And I worked toward those dreams.  I trained for that marathon, and I did a lot of 5k's and even one 10k, although the marathon never happened for me.  I kept my eyes open for the right guy, the one I'd want to raise a family with, and I never found him.  Or, I should say. I haven't found him yet, although the hard realities of my life make never having had those kids more of a blessing than a regret.  And until I got sick and discouraged and, let's face it, depressed, I worked on my writing, too.

It's time for me to discover what my dreams are again, to believe in them, and to start working toward making them a reality.  I know I still want to be a published author, maybe more now than before, with some of those other dreams gone.  So that's the one I'm going to work on right now.  I'm not entirely sure *how* I'm going to work on it.  I feel like I've got a whole set of muscles that have forgotten how to move.  Is there such a thing as author's therapy?  Writer's rehab?  If so, I need to check myself in for an inpatient program!  Short of that, I need to start flexing those creative muscles again, playing with ideas and possibilities, laying the groundwork in my head for putting words on paper.

I'm going to wear those pendants as much as possible this year, to remind myself to Dream and Believe.  Dream and Believe and then Act.  It doesn't get you where you want to be if you don't have all three.