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i like creeds

This is my horoscope, courtesy of the brilliant Rob Brezsny:

CANCER (June 21-July 22): Your creed for the last three months of 2008
comes from Nikos Kazantzakis: “By believing passionately in something
that still does not exist, we create it. The nonexistent is whatever we
have not sufficiently desired.” Memorize this meme, Cancerian. Imprint it
on your subconscious mind. Make it so much a part of you that it
breathes as you breathe, and dreams as you dream. Allow it to turn you
into a magician whose potent desire is as strong as the longings of ten
normal people put together.

I think I should calligraph that quote and hang it up somewhere in the studio.

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on editing

I’ve been editing-o-rama this week, and it’s going much more smoothly than I had expected.

I cut out a lot more without even having to think about it so the draft is hovering around the 90k mark at the moment. I kept everything in files in case I want to add things back, but I’m liking it on the shorter side. Haven’t read it all end-to-end yet, but it seems like a good length.

I’m actually kind of baffled that I set a schedule that I stuck to. I think it helps to have the impending wonderment that is NaNoWriMo to keep me motivated to just finish this up already, but I’m actually kind of ahead of schedule. Baffling.

Maybe I just work better in the autumn, or the cooler weather and earlier sunsets make my brain function in a less lazy way.

Regardless, I am on a very good track to have a finished, polished draft by mid-October to give to a handful of trusted readers, leaving me free to work on something else entirely for November. Oh, to work on something else entirely after over two years! I cannot even say how exciting that is. Just to explore someplace different for awhile (all my writing seems to be very place-based, maybe that’s a blog for another day) will be such a nice change.

Editing has been easier than I had expected, too. I tend to edit as I go a lot, and I’ve edited large chunks of the book already, so a lot of it is smoothing out the edges and making the details coherent and just making it pretty. And in re-reading sections that I haven’t read in quite some time I’m finding I just like reading it as a reader, which is probably a very good sign.

I tend to get to a point while working on a painting where it just feels finished. I can detail it a bit more and add a few touches (or spatters, usually) but the painting itself is there already. I wasn’t really expecting it, but the book is starting to feel like that. That it’s there and I’m just playing with shading and flourishes.

Yeah, so writing is good this week. Even with mercury retrograde.

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done, sort of.

Well, it took almost two years but I have reached the end of the novel. Not that the end is the end, this is what happens when you write things non-linearly. The last bit written actually goes somewhere in the middle, but still.

It’s almost 130,000 words. 129,148 according to Scrivener, but some of that is notes and rewrites and lots of it will change. It’ll likely end up right around 100,000 which should be perfect, since 130,000 is far, far too many words.

(For those of you unfamiliar with word counts one of the general rules of thumb is approximately 250 words per page. That’s over 500 pages, which is too many pages.)

I have a grand plan for editing, which involves reading through everything and taking notes next week and then organizing those notes into a proper rewriting schedule. Am still on track for finishing mid-October with time left to plan for NaNoWriMo.

(I have already changed my mind three times as far as NaNo goes, and have plenty of time to change it again.)

But first I am taking the weekend off.

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handwritten blog post 1.0

(I am going to do handwritten blogs from time to time. Because I think it’s kind of fun and I like the smell of Sharpie.)

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awaiting autumn

I have been in a sort of cocoon of Lapsang Souchong tea and writing lately, alternately accompanied by Philip Glass on solo piano and Zoe Keating on multi-layered cello.

Now I’ve moved on to being vaguely addicted to Amanda Palmer’s new solo album, Who Killed Amanda Palmer. I wasn’t sure what I thought of it at first but it has grown on me like some sort of musical fungus and I think I love it to little bits. Or something.

Still writing. Still have my Lapsang Souchong. Still have kittens finding new and interesting places to nap. Tessa was all about the front window for awhile (see photographic evidence) and now she’s underneath the gold armchair in the corner. Bucket has taken to flopping in various spots in the hallway so I have to jump over her to get to the kitchen for tea.

It feels like it could trip over into autumn any day now, I am sick of the humidity and I long for scarves and fingerless gloves and pumpkin spice lattes. It is my favorite time of year, all cinnamon and leaves and crisp cool air. Any day now.

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reading about writing

Firstly, the Nicest Person on the Internet got me the aforementioned Tarot of the Magical Forest. It is even more lovely and whimsical and weird in person and I love it.

I’ve had a very long, very productive weekend. Went to the Peabody Essex Museum, cleaned the apartment (sort of), upgraded PhotoShop, wrote a lot, read a lot. Somewhere in there kittens chased flies and I made sangria and we talked a lot of politics. Good times.

I’m very fond of reading books about writing. Mostly just to see what other people have to say about it, and how so many of them say the same things in so many different ways. I have two new ones that I read this weekend, that are both lovely in almost completely opposite ways.

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is very straightforward, very thoughtful and kind of a kick in the pants for anyone struggling with anything from writing and painting to weight loss and yoga. It is very clear and concise and frames familiar struggles in an interesting way that I hadn’t encountered before. It’s a quick read, and I have a feeling I will be re-reading it occasionally as well.

On the other side of the reading about writing spectrum (the colorful one) I also read SARK’s Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. It is very much a SARK book, all handwritten wonderfulness in bright colors and doodled illustrations and it is equally as inspiring. I feel like I’ve fed both sides of my brain with writing books in one weekend.

One of my favorite bits of Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper (even the title makes me want to write!) is this page of numbered doors, on which SARK instructs the reader to pick a door intuitively and follow the coordinating advice on the next page. My advice, found through a simple purple door: Put your writing FIRST and see how it feels, which feels like very good advice for me right now.

So I am looking forward to this week. I have lots to write, I have lots to say. I have Dave Matthews & Tim Reynolds Live at Radio City freshly downloaded and I still have quite a bit of sangria, too.

(And I promise I will finish the Phantomwise Tarot sevens soon as well, really.)

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