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hiatus time again

flower

My brain does not like summer in general and this one in particular. It is too hot and too bright. I’m tired at odd times of day and I forget to buy almond milk for my coffee.

I was already planning on curling up into my sweaters and my head in the fall but I think I shall start the curling early, even if the sweaters have to wait. I’ve been mostly neglecting the internet anyway but for some reason making it official and giving myself rules works better for my brain. And it seems more polite to announce than to simply vanish.

Starting August 1st I will not be on Twitter (I will tweet if there is particularly tweet-worthy news or information to be shared but I will not be reading my @ replies.)

I will blog if there is blog-worthy anything, though there usually isn’t because right now involves a lot of things that are still incubating and not sharable and not a lot of news. My day-to-day news of late is usually the not-blog-worthy type of things like “got new red lipstick” or “made blueberry pancakes” and “still in Dragon Age withdrawal.”

I will be on Instagram & Tumblr occasionally. Lipstick & pancake related news might turn up over there.

I don’t know how long this particular hiatus is going to last. I am planning on crawling into my head and not coming out again properly until I find the end of this book, which I know at this point seems like it has been a very very long time coming. I threw out everything I had in January and started over, so really it is going quite quickly and I have so much more of it figured out even if I haven’t convinced the words to cling to the pages in the right order just yet. It is much less like word soup now than it used to be but it is still a word soufflé and I need to be careful and quiet with it so it doesn’t collapse.

So I’m going to step away from the internet (mostly) and figure out how to get from soufflé to whatever the next stage of this analogy is (probably cake) and someday there will be a proper book and hopefully someday is a lot less far off than it used to be.

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anniversary

Yesterday was our first wedding anniversary.

anniversary banner

Earlier this year we had to print out photos for our immigration interview so now they’re scattered about the apartment, popping up like mushrooms.

mr & mrs

I had a feeling we were both going to go the predictable book route for the paper anniversary gifts but Adam surprised me with the Dragon Age: Inquisition tarot deck which was super limited & now only pops up on ebay occasionally. Because tarot & Dragon Age are two of my favorite things & he knows me really, really well.

da tarot

(I got him a gift card for The Strand so he can go & pick out his own paper books.)

And this was a not-paper combination gift that we’ve been talking about getting for ages.

record player

I admit I had thought all that stuff about the sound being warmer and such was likely exaggeration but I was wrong, it does sounds warmer and it is amazing it is like hot tea for your ears and I am loving it to little bits.

We spent the day wandering and went to see the Alice in Wonderland exhibit at the Morgan Library which was splendid and had lots of original Tenniel sketches plus the original handwritten manuscript.

And last night we went to o ya for dinner, we’d been to their Boston location a few times and the New York outpost just opened. Everything was sublime, in that “I’m going to giggle maniacally after every perfect bite because it’s just that perfect and happy-making” way. They even gave us little candlelit magic mochi matcha donuts for anniversaryness.

o ya menu

I can’t believe it’s been a year already, probably because it’s been a busy year but it’s been lovely and wonderful in so many ways and I am very much looking forward to a great many more anniversaries.

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miscellaneous post of miscellany – june 2015 edition

I keep forgetting to blog. I used to blog so often that I had to grasp at things to fill up spaces between flax-golden tales and now there are so many unblogged about bits and pieces piling up that I don’t know where to start so I don’t and then nothing gets blogged at all and the pile gets bigger. Attempting to toss some things on today, so this will be very much all over the place.

(Part of it is also that I don’t have Official Author Things to blog about. There’s either no new news or no sharable news, etc. I’m not doing any events. Whenever there is bloggable book news it will be blogged, I assure you. In the meantime, thank you for reading all of this nonsense.)

A few weeks ago I was a clue in the New York Times crossword puzzle. 135 Across.

nyt crossword

Which was odd and cool and not something I’d ever thought possible. We went out and got a copy to keep that will probably remain blank because I am not good at crosswords. (Maybe I should just fill in the ERIN.)

I asked Twitter for potential things to blog about* and one of the suggestions was about my Twitter hiatus and how well/not well it went. I was on Twitter hiatus from November-April (I’m still not checking it as much as I used to) and I think it was really good for me. I have a few different social media things I try to keep up with but Twitter is the most active & time consuming. My Instagram & Tumblr are a little more on the pretty pictures & retumbling passive side, which is better for me when I’m working. Having all the Twitter connections and voices is tremendously awesome but not so much when I’m trying to pay more attention to the voices in my head. That came out wrong. But still, it’s very outward when I need to be inward at the moment so the hiatus was valuable and I will probably do it again toward the end of the year.

I am mostly writing right now, or working rather because I am not a write-every-day writer, I am a live-in-the-book-regardless-of-wordcount every day writer. So I alternate days with a lot of words and days working out character things or plot things or imaginary architecture, sometimes with pens in notebooks and sometimes just in my head, because if I have those things worked out the word days end up filled with more useable words.

My writing music at the moment is atmospheric & electronic & classical. Smitten with the Max Richter recomposition of Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Currently listening to Forest Swords. Brand new Florence + the Machine and Of Monsters and Men albums are also on heavy rotation.

I have not been reading much, which always happens when I’m writing more. I tend to like absorbing story in non-text formats when I’m working on my own writing so I end up watching more tv and playing more games. Earlier this month I binge-watched the first three seasons of American Horror Story which I had never seen and now I wish I’d started sooner. Still haven’t seen Freakshow and looking forward to Hotel because I have a thing for hotels.

I don’t even want to talk about Game of Thrones. I was glad I had a lot of wine.

I got a new bunny friend because I couldn’t leave the store without him.

bunny friend

The apartment has an awful lot of bunnies now.

I’ve been trying to keep up with the E3 press conferences as much as I can but I wasn’t really excited about anything until last night’s Sony conference and then it was ALL EXCITEMENT with some extra shooty things I don’t care about. (Particularly interested in The Last Guardian & Horizon and really intrigued by dreams.) In related news I now I have surround-sound headphones that I got mostly for game-related purposes and I love them.

I am realizing I might not be blogging that much lately because I’m boring. I’m also hot, which doesn’t help anything. Despite being born in the summer I am not a summer creature, humidity makes me sleepy and I burn easily and our air conditioner is broken.

Someone is coming to fix the air conditioner.

Someday there will be book news and sharable things and excitement, I’m sure. I’m in hermit mode which does not lend itself well to sharing.  I am writing a lot and switching things around and finding structure and it is finally actually getting somewhere this time. There are people in my head I would like for you to meet but I have to follow them around awhile longer first.

The air conditioner repairperson came while I was writing this and it’s not a problem with the unit, it’s something electrical so I am apparently going to remain hot for awhile.

This post was even more all over the place than I’d anticipated.

I am an introvert who occasionally pretends to be an extrovert and then other times I forget how, even on the internet.

Doing my best but really need my attention focused elsewhere lately, hope you all understand.

 

*Twitter suggestions scattered randomly throughout post, I think I got most of them.

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night circus in south bend

south bend pin

We spent the first weekend in May in South Bend, Indiana for their One Book, One Michiana celebration of The Night Circus. The weather was perfection, the city is absolutely lovely, and I was incredibly impressed by how much enthusiasm and effort was put into every detail. They have the loveliest librarians and the most extraordinary library, I wanted to live in it.

From the pins and the programs (some of which had moving parts!) everything was so detailed and thoughtful.

south bend program

I have been in my writing cave for so long I was a bit concerned that I might not remember how to speak in front of people but everyone was so delightful and welcoming. All of the events were wonderful, there was delicious food and chocolate and it was a flattering if slightly surreal reminder that there are still people reading and enjoying and celebrating, even when I’m getting used to being at home staring at blank pages and trying to make them not so blank.

I wish I could explain properly how much fun it was. I didn’t take enough photos but there are lots over here. There were cocktails and fancy dresses and I had an excellent tarot reading (someone please tell Barbara the Gray Witch I did get a new pillow, she was right about my neck). The children’s section of the library had a tunnel made of vintage luggage, I was serious about wanting to live there.

My gratitude and appreciation to everyone in South Bend who put so much time & energy into creating a truly wonderful experience.

south bend library sign

Home now, back in springtime NYC and blank pages waiting to be filled. No more appearances for awhile, so this was a very good high note to end on.

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springtime

blooming

My apologies for the lack of blog updates. I haven’t had much to update about, I have been hibernating and writing and re-writing. Apparently writing a book entirely wrong the first time is just a thing I do. I think it is back on track now.

Months ago I said aloud (Twitter counts as aloud) that I wanted to have a draft finished by spring and here we are in spring and well… not so much.

But I have made a lot of progress. More than I have in a long time. Maybe I should aim for progress and not use the f-word. Art is never finished and all that. Still working. Still writing and probably re-writing. Not quite book-shaped but it’s getting there. It’s still surprising me, which is fun.

New York is turning blossomy and proper springtime-feeling when it’s not raining. I hope it stays this way for a while and doesn’t rush headlong into summer.

On May 1st & 2nd I will be in South Bend, Indiana for One Book, One Michiana with the St. Joseph County Public Library. There will be a reading/q&a/signing, a tiny story workshop & a circusy soirée (oh, how I love the word soirée). Detailed schedule can be found over here.

Given what’s been going on in Indiana I thought about cancelling but considering how much planning and preparation people have put into this event that didn’t seem right. I will be making donations to freedomindiana.org and the Human Rights Campaign with my speaking fee.

This is, at the moment, my only scheduled appearance for 2015. I should really figure out what I’m going to wear since I’ve been living in my yoga pants lately.

I’m going to attempt to blog more frequently over the spring/summer. I am still Instagraming & Tumlbring & I may be on Twitter periodically but mostly I will be writing (and re-writing) so the majority of my words need to be focused there. If there is news I can share, as always, I will share it but most of the time it seems things are either not shareable or not news. Maybe I’ll post ice cream recipes and things like that.

tulips

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winter wonders

madison square snowpeople

I’ve been hibernating. January went and vanished on me, but I think it almost always does, in the coldness and the snow. The February snow currently falling outside the windows looks like an aggressively shaken snow globe. New York in the snow is cold and magical.

I’ve been writing and then re-writing and then going back to blank slate and writing all over again. Someday I will make it out of word soup phase. Someday. But for now I am snuggling up in my imagination and trying to sort story-stuff into proper sentences.

I’ve been cooking a lot. We’re close to perfecting our whole chicken in the crock pot technique. While we were playing Dragon Age Inquisition instead of watching the Superbowl I made honey bourbon amaretto sours. Tonight I am making potato leek soup.

get in troubleTomorrow is February 3rd and that means Kelly Link‘s new short story collection Get in Trouble comes out. I had the pleasure of reading it last year and it is absolutely fantastic, in the most fantastical of ways. The lovely thing about Kelly Link stories is that while they are each so inventive and unique they are also distinctly hers. Had this collection arrived without an author name I still would have known they were Kelly Link stories. No one else writes such weird wonderfulness quite the same way. If you have never read her stories I highly recommend them, and you can read one of the stories from this collection right over here.

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2014 thoughts & favorites

I am trying not to say things like “this year flew by” or “where did 2014 go?” but I am thinking them, very hard.

I was sick a lot this year. I had my wisdom teeth removed. In a lot of ways this year was about taking better care of myself and I’m not sure how well I did so hopefully that will be a continuing theme for 2015.

I had a comparatively quiet year but it was filled with a lot of things. I have a new niece. I learned to play croquet. I met Tori Amos. I turned 36. I saw Macbeth & King Lear. I redesigned my website. I celebrated Margaret Atwood’s birthday with some of my favorite writer people. I got to be Quentin Coldwater. My go-to Manhattan bar closed. I went to Vermont and Toronto and I’m typing this in Florida. I wrote a lot but not as much as I would have liked. It’s not book-shaped. That’s okay.

Most importantly in 2014, I got married.

I’m looking forward to 2015. I’m not big on resolutions but I really like Chuck Wendig’s 2015 Resolution for Writers.

2014 Favorites

Books.

bookends

I had a low volume reading year. There are so many books I accumulated this year but didn’t get to. I read less when I’m writing & I didn’t read much when I was sick and when I sorted through what I did read the list of books I really loved was particularly short. Though I think that’s partially because they are books I really, really loved. (The short list pictured with new favorite bookends, holiday gift from my darling editor.)

The Magician’s Land by Lev Grossman

This is the Story of a Happy Marriage by Ann Patchett

Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel

Stoner by John Williams

(Honorary not pictured mentions to The Enchanted by Rene Denfeld because it came out this year (I read it last year) and Get in Trouble by Kelly Link which I read this year but is not out until next year.)

Music.

Favorite new (or new-to-me) albums this year:

Lana Del Rey‘s Ultraviolence, Taylor Swift‘s 1989, Agnes Obel‘s Aventine, London Grammar‘s If You Wait, & Birdy‘s Fire Within.

Thought a lot about song of the year. Was tempted to go with Taylor’s “Shake It Off” for fun but went personal instead. (Someday, when I finish this book, this choice will make more sense.)

Movies/TV.

I didn’t see enough movies to warrant a movie section. I’m including it to make myself feel guilty and hopefully I’ll see more movies next year.

The only tv show we keep up with anymore week-to-week is Game of Thrones, which I am conflicted about but will probably watch week-to-week next season anyway. We also started watching all of Fringe which I never saw when it was on but is far more enjoyable than I’d expected, we have about a season and a half left. Also looking forward to more Orphan Black.

Games.

Of the video variety: I feel silly saying my favorite game of the year is Dragon Age: Inquisition because we literally only started playing it less than a month ago but I’m a little bit obsessed.

Of the tabletop variety: We started getting into tabletop games this year and by far my favorite is Pandemic.

Other media.

I am late on the Serial bandwagon but we binge-listened to the whole thing the other day and it is absolutely fascinating both on an investigation level and as a narrative.

 

(A minor resolution for next year: keep better track of books & such for end-of-year favorite list.)

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happy birthday margaret atwood, the slightly belated event

Last night this happened.

atwood birthday

Me, Chuck Wendig, Lev Grossman & a surprise Neil Gaiman celebrated Margaret Atwood‘s 75 birthday at the 92nd St Y and it was magical and amazing and I think I managed not to appear quite as nervous as I felt.

For the occasion I composed 75 Imaginary Birthday Cakes. I only read about 50 of them, but all 75 were hand written on cards and placed in a little box and given to Margaret Atwood.

Here’s a sneak peek:

atwood cakes title

atwood cakes

atwood cakes box

 

(The box smells like cake, scented with BPAL’s Eat Me: three white cakes, vanilla, and red and black currants.)

Someday I’ll share the whole list but for the moment I’ll let them remain mysterious.

Still can’t really believe I got to be a part of this marvelous event with such fantastic people. Grateful & inspired & delighted.

 

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nanowrimo 2014

I’ve been doing pseudo-NaNoWriMo this month, adding 50,000 words to the project I’ve been working on. (Calling it a project and not a novel sounds much more appropriate, it is, unsurprisingly, still not novel-shaped. I will probably not consent to calling it novel-shaped until I have to actually let it go out into the world and be a grown-up book.)

I hit the 50k mark yesterday, mostly because I wrote 7k yesterday. I’m not sure how I managed that and also today my brain is tired.

Here is my NaNoWriMo 2014 word count graph:

nano 2014 word count graph(I believe the orange days are when I hit 5k, 10k, 25k & 50k. I had a busy first weekend.)

I make a point to not re-read anything I write during NaNo so I’m really not certain how much work it needs but some of it was redrafting older bits, so it might not be completely terrible. I’m guessing it’s 35-40% terrible. I am going to go back over all of it soon to rectify some of the terribleness. (I over-use the word “slightly” like it’s my job.) But there’s stuff that works in there, and stuff that I probably wouldn’t have come up with if I hadn’t been digging deeper in odd corners of backstory to make that little graph go up. I am, as always, a sucker for progress in graph form.

I’m delighted that I managed to get to 50k now with so much of November left. I have several other things on the to-do list that I’ve been putting off that I now have time for.

Winner-2014

To those of you still NaNo-ing I wave little flags of encouragement for you. You can do it! There’s still a lot of days left!

At the moment, though, I might need to take a nap.

 

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happy birthday margaret atwood!

Today is Margaret Atwood‘s 75th birthday but on Wednesday, December 3rd I will be at the 92nd Street Y with a number of other lovely people to help celebrate this illustrious occasion.

I have been locked away in my writing cave and declining event invitations but I said yes to this one because Margaret Atwood. I am delighted to be a part of it. And also my friends Lev Grossman & Chuck Wendig will be there, so it is bound to be a fantastic evening.

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