Archive for January, 2013

  • Shifty Eyes

    So now is the time that I get to be all shifty eyed. Because apparently the press release that was to go out, did not. Which means I could just be a huge bitch and ruining everything under the sun. Whoops!

    Long story short, I’m going to be on the television. Not on any fancy reality shows like Dancing with the Stars or Jersey Shore (I literally just gagged), but local access television reality. Which is kind of hilarious, because I am the last person on the planet who would go on some reality show. And yet here we are.

    I’ve been thinking I need to do something that scares me for awhile. The death of a writer is in the softness of being comfortable. Comfort is terrible for me, so here I am, crawling out of my oddly-shaped box into the realm off the uncomfortable. I’m doing something I’ve always said I never would do.

    I’ll say more later when I’m a little more certain I’m not preempting anything by being a huge bitch.

  • Keeping the Promise to Ourselves

    Ugh, I’ve been neglectful the past week or so. If I’m completely honest, I’ve been feeling very overwhelmed with life. I’m not sure why. I think the whole getting back into a high stress job has been taking its toll. I’ve literally felt like I’ve been treading to keep my head above water and failing.

    This isn’t good. And this level of exhaustion has been affecting my writing. Namely, I haven’t really written in over a week. Which, being a writer, is a horrible thing. Sometimes we just need to accept our short comings and vow to do better tomorrow. I’m doing my best to do this.

    Other times, our demons overtake us and suddenly we find ourselves unable to sleep, fretting over the unwritten novel. That’s where I found myself last night. I could tell that there was no way I was going to be able to sleep if I didn’t get some work done. So at 11 o’clock, I pulled myself out of bed and went back downstairs to fire up the computer. And I spent a very painful hour and fifteen minutes plodding out about 200 words. Those who know my normal work rate wil recognize that as a snail’s pace.

    So what happened? I went from knocking out an easy 2000 words an hour to less than 200. Part of the problem is I lost momentum. Those nine days I didn’t write (and didn’t even do anything related to writing) killed me. I’m also operating under the assumption that this gap contributed to said feelings of drowning. If I’m not getting the basic promises I make to myself done, then of course I must be overwhelmed.

    It is sosososo important to keep up the habits of work. I made a promise to myself and if I don’t stick to it, I’m letting myself down as a writer. You should never underestimate the psychological impact of that. Breaking this promise has bee the start of a vicious cycle for me. I’m exhausted so I don’t write. I didn’t write so I feel bad, which makes me feel more tired. Now I’m more exhausted, so I don’t write again. Ad infinitum.

    I promised myself I would write at least 500 words a day For me that’s about 15-25 minutes of work depending on how I’m feeling. I can make that work. I have to. The only way to be a writer is to write.

  • The Starting of a Sweater

    So. Knitting.

    One of my major goals for the year was to knit a sweater that would a) fit and b) I would love and wear all the time. For those of you who don’t know, knitting is what keeps me sane. It keeps my hands out of trouble, keeps my ADHD brain focused, and gives me something positive to work on. It’s an all around win. Also, it’s a major destresser in life, even if Daniil tells you I spend a lot of time swearing at my stitches.

    I’ve been knitting for ten years at this point, off and on. Which seems like a terribly long time. And I have never made a sweater. I’ve made three  and a half tops, but one (for my sister) was too short, one (for me) was kinda two small, one (for me) was a little shorter than I’d like and tight around the arms, and the half is still waiting to be seamed. Shut up. It’s only been waiting for the sewing portion for a year and a half. I’ll do what I want.

    Anyway, I’m for sure going to knit a sweater. I’ve taken copious amounts of measurements of pretty much everything that isn’t legs. I knit a swatch. And then I started another swatch when the first one didn’t have the right gauge. I should have taken pictures, but I didn’t. I’m lazy, sue me.

    For those of you wanting to know, I’m making the Acer Cardigan. In a beautiful eggplant merino. Actually, it’s a discontinued but much beloved Knit Picks yarn line. As I said elsewhere on the internet, half the motivation for making the sweater is so people stop asking me on the internet if they can buy this yarn off me. I figure, if it’s a sweater, they won’t want to buy it.

  • Synonyms

    “I can’t talk about reading without talking about writing. And I can’t talk about writing without talking about reading.” How many times have those words slipped past my lips? How many times have I justified the meandering focus of a lesson plan with those two sentences?

    The answer is a lot. Like, almost-every-day a lot.

    In truth, it’s because reading and writing are synonyms. Dictionary definitions aside, reading and writing are the exact same thing. I’m sure I’ll get a lot of flack for suggesting it because I wouldn’t be surprised to find out that asserting such a notion is, uh, controversial.

    I can hear it now: The Readers up at arms about how they aren’t Writers (but wish they were), and the Writers shouting about how what they do is more than just reading. To which I say: Just keep telling yourself that.

    As someone who has spent a lot of time in school supposedly learning how to be a better writer, and also as someone who has spent a lot of time teaching reading and writing…you really have to believe me when I say they’re the same thing. You cannot teach one without the other. It’s impossible.

    Our brains are big, beautiful things. If our brains were hardwired differently, maybe reading and writing wouldn’t be the same. But they’re not. Our brains look for connections like heat-seeking missiles look for fire. And they long to interact with and manipulate the world around them. Curiosity is not a thing we’ve ever learned.

    If you teach a person how to read, it’s only a matter of time before they give writing a try. And if you teach them how to write, again, they’ll eventually read. At this point, I’m sure someone is snarkily thinking that to write, you must be capable of reading. Bullshit. I learned how to read when I was four. The first story I wrote came about at two-and-a-half. Stop thinking so literally, haters.

    Which brings us to the third synonym of the Writing Trifecta (Trinity?). And that word is story.

    Story is the noun; reading and writing are the verbs. We all know you can verb a noun all day long. But can you noun a verb?

    Storytelling is an art form, and like all other art forms, it’s the oldest art form. While art is often dismissed as frivolous an unnecessary, the world we know today and the societies our species has built rest on the shoulders of our abilities to do and make art. Art is our basic form of communication, our universal language.

    Get a message. Make a message. Send a message. It’s all messages. And that’s all reading and writing are. They’re the messages around the stories we tell. An unread message is a message never sent, a message never written.

  • Now That Giftmas Is Over…

    So with the new year comes the official time when all the gift knitting can be revealed. I’m actually very very pleased with how much I accomplished.

    First up, I know ten hats for ten amazing kids in the SEAL program. I really, really, really wish I could show you all how wonderful and happy my kids looked in their hats, but there’s approximately abillionty privacy concerns preventing me from showing you. Which is such a shame. Some of them I’ve never seen smile so big before. It was incredible.

    Instead, you will have to be satisfied with the hats spread out on a classroom table. It’s really not fair, because of all the pictures I took of these hats, it’s the crappiest. C’est la vie.

    Each one of those hats stands for a child I love and think is awesome. Those children have dug their way under my skin and into my heart in ways that I’ve never experienced before. That photograph represents three months of knitting, over 100 hours, and over 1000 yards of worsted weight wool. I would gladly give that time up thrice again to show those kids that they are loved.

    The hats themselves were my Nerd Wars dissertation over on Ravelry. I would have knit them anyway. The hats were planned and the yarn was picked out before I even realized they qualified. The kids all picked out their favorite colors for a ‘super secret project’ back in October. I was on the Game of Thrones team, so it really worked out that I could tie the individual colors and designs to the idea of the different houses in A Song of Ice and Fire.

    We went back to school today and I was thrilled at how many kids showed up wearing their hats.


    Secondly, I knit a big-ass Frank Lloyd Wright-inspired scarf. Over six feet long and over a foot wide. In a delicious wool and silk blend. It’s the first time my sister has ever requested I knit something for a boyfriend of hers, so I figured it must be pretty serious. Let’s just say the scarf materials were more than those previously mentioned ten hats combined. Oops. It came out way better than I expected. I loathe colorwork.

    Isn’t he cute? That’s Ghalib. And the verdict is he’s totally knitworthy. He’s worn that scarf literally every time I’ve seen him since he opened it on Christmas. Even when it wasn’t obvious I’d be around to witness the wearing.

    What was weird about this year is I didn’t knit anything for Daniil. That’s my traditional gift for him. This year all he got was a teapot. But it was a very lovely teapot. Next year?

  • And We're Back

    Wow, a whole new year is upon us. And, as usual, I’m late. Everyone who was on top of things posted about the wonder of a new calendar number last week. Or yesterday. Or whenever. Basically just before I did. Because I don’t run on time with these things.

    2012 was a pretty decent year. We bought a house. We got three cats. Just about all of our coupled friends got engaged. And then we collectively gave them the middle finger when they all looked at us sideways and cleared their throats.

    I vowed to reinvent myself as a writer with some degree of success. I made it clear to everyone that summer 2013 was mine, and mine alone. I began working on my novel again. And I started submitting to literary magazines after a 3 year hiatus. Which also went well, thankyouverymuch.

    Which brings us to the obligatory portion of what’s in store for this year. Like everyone under the sun, the plan is ambitious and I’m probably doomed to accomplish none of it. But it’s the thought that counts, right?

    First off, I’m going to continue developing this blog. I’ve been better about posting more consistently, but there’s always room for improvement. I’ve got a relaunch plan in the works and am hoping everything will be ready by March or April.

    I want to start using twitter like an adult, not like a technologically backward grandma. I don’t know how I, an early adopter, managed to get so out of the, ew, twittersphere.

    I am going to finish the first draft of my novel. This WILL happen, even if I have to sell my soul to get there. Luckily, I just got a mini ipad which seems to have done wonders for my productivity. That’s right…I’m turning into one of those people.

    I am going to travel to Kenya. This is a no brainer and been a long time coming. My sister lives there, and it’s been a place I’ve wanted to go since about the time I turned 18. This one probably counts as my big Bucket List item for the year. That and the novel.

    And lastly, I’m going to knit a sweater that I love and fits really well. The fits part is the important part. It’s embarrassing how much time I’ve spent on knitted items I adore but seem a wee bit too tight. Wren, you gotta start knitting to the 36” directions, girl.