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blueberry girl

I went blueberry picking with Kyth & Amy in New Hampshire this weekend. We managed to have lovely weather despite the ever-present summer storms, and we had a marvelous time. I’ve never been blueberry picking before. Apple picking many many times but never blueberries. It takes a lot longer to fill a bucket with blueberries than it does with apples.

I was glad that I’d brought my camera. Berries are fun to capture in their natural habitat. I was struck by how much blueberries look like itty bitty pomegranates in shape, and surprised that I’d never really noticed it before.

I now have about 3 pounds of blueberries. We have been snacking on them but have barely put a dent in the haul, so the rest have been relegated to the freezer. (We have a freezer that works now, thankfully.)

I have always loved frozen blueberries. I would eat them by the handful when I was little and my mom would freeze them, sneaking them out of the freezer and not always leaving a reasonable amount left for whatever baking purposes they had been intended for.

I will endeavor to be better with these. I am probably going to make blueberry cookies tomorrow, and possibly some sort of blueberry cake type something later in the week. Or scones, perhaps.

I like having the ability to take a day trip to pick berries on a farm as easily as we can take a day trip into Boston. And I like that we live in a sort of in-between place that’s not too urban and not too rural. I used to think I was a city girl but I never really was, though I am not much of a country girl either. I am something in between. Or maybe I am all kinds of girls, and I fit better in the places that leave me free to be all of them.

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conveniently inconvenient

My refrigerator is broken.

Yesterday while I was making my tea I happened to open the freezer (I don’t even remember what I was looking for, there wasn’t much in there other than frozen fruit and vanilla vodka) and discovered that my ice cube trays were full of water rather than ice. And the water wasn’t even particularly cold or frosty or in any manner on its way to becoming ice.

Then I checked the fridge and noticed it was remarkably close to room temperature.

The night before we’d had a bunch of little power outages, the power would go off for 30 seconds or so and then switch back on and the tv would come back with much higher volume on the Olympics coverage. (We’ve become addicted to the Olympics, completely unintentionally. The opening ceremonies were gorgeous.) This happened about half a dozen times, so I’m guessing something burnt out some magic cooling something or other. We tried a few easy things to see if we could fix it but alas, it appears to be unfixable.

Our very nice landlord is buying us a new one. I plan on getting ice cream once I have the ability to freeze again.

Oddly, though this is really inconvenient and has me drinking lots of tea and eating lots of Nutella on various bread products, it really couldn’t have happened at a better time. The weather is cool. We didn’t have all that much perishable stuff in there at the moment. We’re going to be gone most of the day tomorrow (going to see Radiohead tomorrow night, yay!) and the new refrigerator should be delivered on Thursday, which the boy had already taken off from work so I don’t have to wrangle kittens and handle delivery guys all by myself.

I’m wondering if this is some sort of cosmic lesson in problem management, that things like this that are unexpected and annoying are still manageable and not necessarily stressful unless you make them stressful.

Or it could just be a case of a bad thing having remarkably good timing.

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thunder and charts

It’s raining again, thundering and dark. I have lived in Massachusetts all my life and I don’t remember ever having a summer this stormy. I do love a summer storm, but this is kind of insane. It is nicely moody, though, even when the thunder frightens the kittens.

I made a chart for the novel. I mentioned this already, but I like it so I’m going to babble about it more. It’s not a chart, exactly. More like a big page of color-coded lists of vignettes with a timeline below it to keep everything in order.

*boom*

No lightning, though, at least as far as I can tell.

I like my chart. I’m not usually a chart/notecard/etc kind of girl but this is kind of helpful and makes finishing seem a lot less daunting. Only 12 vignettes are really unfinished, and only maybe 10 more need heavy rewrites. Out of 42 or so. That’s no so bad. I keep saying this, so it must be true.

*boom*

That one was loud, the kind of thunder that actually sounds like cymbols crashing. I think the kittens are getting used to it, this one didn’t even make Tessa blink.

The rain outside actually sounds like one of those rain sticks that are supposed to sound like rain as it’s bouncing off the pavement. I didn’t think those sticks were supposed to sound like rain on pavement, really, but that is what it sounds like.

I hung my chart up over the iMac, so I can just look up and refer to it while sitting at the desk. This seems easier than going through notecards or whatnot. I already have a file open for the 12 vignettes that need writing. I have at least a few hundred words and notes for each of them, which will help. I am hoping to have drafts of all of those by the end of the month, which should be doable.

It’s really pouring now, past the rain stick sound because the noise is just continuous. I am resisting the urge to go stand out in the rain, it’s a bit too cold for that anyway.

This blog is one month old today.

*boom*

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this entry has kittens

I am feeling remarkably proactive and productive today, which is odd for a Tuesday though not so odd for a waxing moon. I have spent today organizing writing things, and I now have a large color-coded chart of the novel hanging above the desk, which will hopefully help keep me motivated and prevent things from getting overwhelming. (I only have 12 unfinished/unwritten vignettes out of 40, which is quite something, really.)

So, pictures of kittens!

While sitting at my desk if I look to my left this is what I usually see:

This is Tessa, sleeping on the file box I keep art prints in. It has been her napping spot of choice when I’m in the studio for awhile now. She gets very irate when I have to move her.

And this is Bucket, sitting on the floor behind me. Though she is not hiding in difficult-to-photograph places today, she is still a bit camera shy. Or possibly just doesn’t like Radiohead.

They are lovely, fluffy things even though they are not terribly helpful.

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this entry has no kittens

I was going to post pictures of kittens but they are being uncooperative. Likely because it is absurdly humid and they are absurdly fluffy and like to flop in difficult to photograph places.

I have been on internet hiatus this week, which usually involves me avoiding the internet save for important things like e-mail and whatnot. It is remarkably beneficial to my productivity level. During this particular hiatus I finished the sixes for the Phantomwise Tarot and drank a lot of wine and thought about the novel a lot. I have something of a timeline for getting things done and I’m going to make charts and maps and helpful tools that will be, well, helpful. I hope.

Tonight the Phantomwise Tarot Shinies go on sale at Wyrding Studios. I have spent a fair amount of the day promoting them in various places and playing e-mail tag with Kythryne. I’m excited about it, I haven’t even seen the finished product in person but I’m sure they’re even lovelier than the photos, since Kyth’s stuff usually is.

I am very much ready for it to cool down and be nicely autumnal already. I always feel out of my element in the summer, despite being a July baby. I want sweaters and pumpkin spice lattes and crispy air and kittens that are more easily photographable.

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bringing the randomness to the new blog

I am getting worse at making myself work, I think. Either that or I have always been this bad and I am just becoming more self-aware. I know that I work in fits and starts and I have lulls, but I seem to be lulling more often than not lately.

I have had a couple serendipitous encounters with things about fear of failure and fear of success, and I really don’t know which one I have. Maybe it’s both, in one big failure milkshake.

Mmm… milkshake.

A milkshake is a frappe up here. I didn’t know it was a weird regionalism until I went to college. Also in college I learned that it is not common knowledge that cranberries grow in bogs.

I sometimes think my problem is that I have the attention span of oh, look, a shiny thing!

I’ve bought a lot of jewelry lately. It is one of my consumer weaknesses, along with books, of course. I think it’s at least partially because I like things that are tangible, and things that last.

I am writing more, in a very general sense. I am blogging more and I have multiple journals (haven’t put anything in the pretty purple one yet, still pondering what belongs in it) and I’m just typing more so I suppose I am doing my mental yoga and that’s something.

One of my serendipitous fear of milkshakes things came from the very beginning of my shiny new Absolute Sandman Volume III. I’ve been trying to pace myself since I just got them all and flew through Volumes I & II fairly quickly. But something compelled me to pick up III the other day.

It’s been a few years since I’ve read all of Sandman and though I remember most of it I’d completely forgotten about “Fear of Falling.” It’s this tiny little bit of a story that is all about everything I’ve been worrying over lately, practically word for word. I should really just write “sometimes, when you fall, you fly” on my hand in Sharpie and quit my whining.

I should know by now to always listen to Neil.

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i used to be nocturnal

When I was in college I kept a rather interesting schedule that usually involved napping from midnight until 3am and then getting up to write papers and such. It was surprisingly successful, most of the time.

I have since developed more standard sleeping habits.

But I am finding that the occasional late night opens my brain up in interesting ways. It is definitely good for turning off my inner editor (especially when combined with a glass of wine or two) and ideas just seem to flow differently. I’ve always gotten ideas for stories and paintings and whatnot when I’m drifting off to sleep so maybe my nighttime brain is more creative than my daytime brain.

It’s quieter at night, which helps. No neighbors with loud dogs and motorcycles, not as many cars driving by the window. Pedestrians pass by once in awhile, which is rather disturbing since you can hear every word through the windows and it sounds like they’re actually in the room. But for the most part it is quiet, just me and my typing and my iTunes and my tea and my kittens which is really quite a lot of things but it still seems mellow in comparison.

I think it helps me better listen to my brain. My brain tends to be a non-linear mess of images and words and imaginings. I am still not entirely sure how it works. I have a very lousy memory. Seriously, I remember very little from those nocturnal college days and even less from days before that. If pressed, I could likely recount the events of last week but they might be highly fictionalized. I tend to live in the now and the five minutes from now and my grasp on anything else is tenuous at best.

I don’t really mind. I’ve never been particularly nostalgic and I tend to assume anything and everything could happen in the future so the only really reliable time is the now. I’m not even sure how I got on this tagent. See what I mean about the inner editor? She takes nights off, obviously. Or she gets sick of me after midnight and goes off to do whatever inner editors do on their nights off.

So that leaves me alone with all this stuff in my head and only my keyboard to take it out on (the kittens have given up on me and are asleep, Tessa is on the box of files to my left and Bucket is in the other room) and maybe that’s a good position to be in and maybe I should try doing it more often.

It is 1am. It is quiet outside and the air is still humid with the summer heat despite the thunderstorm that passed by earlier this evening. A car just drove by, the first one in awhile. I have a necklace made of keys around my neck that jingles when I move like chimes.

I suppose I should go unlock something.

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on intimidation and blank pages

For my birthday last week I was given, among other shiny things, a lovely new paper journal. It was a gift from the Nicest Person on the Internet and it is fantabulous and has my initials on it, so it is special and mine.

Here, let’s start the pictures rolling on this blog already. The kittens will be mad that they weren’t first, but they’ll get over it.

The E.J.M. is hard to read because it’s shiny and gold. I love the contrast of the dark binding and gold embossing with the busy purple swirls. Like it’s a nice proper book with a crazy side.

I have a weird complex about blank books. I love them. I spend a fair amount of time in bookstores pawing through the section with journals and sketchbooks and datebooks. I love the crispness of blank pages and still creaky bindings. I have a collection of them, acquired over several years, ones I’ve bought myself and others that have been gifted to me. 

Several of them are still blank.

I get very intimidated by the possibilities of a blank journal. I can write anything in it so I end up writing nothing. I feel better about writing in journals that are cheap or boring. The pretty ones are the most intimidating, of course. I worry that my handwriting is not pretty enough to fill it, that I’ll use the wrong type of pen. And worse, that I’ll fill in a few pages and then abandon it. 

I can count the journals I’ve filled on one hand. I wonder if I have a short attention span.

The thing is, I really like journalling on paper. I find typing easier, but I like putting ink on blank paper. I like not having to follow the lines. (I always prefer unlined journals to lined ones.) I write in little blocks or swirly lines and I draw little things in between sentences. I am always critical, perhaps too critical, of how the page looks covered in ink. 

Does it matter? No one is judging it save for myself. 

I like art journals as a concept, pretty pages of color and collage mixed with words and thoughts. I don’t have the patience for it, I think. Maybe someday, with the right journal and the proper supplies. For now I just admire the work of others.

I think I worry too much about purpose. Purpose and cohesion. I think of each journal as a whole rather than taking it page by page. Maybe that’s why blogging seems easier. It creates its own whole and I can’t see the infinity of blank pages ahead. Any entry could be the last page. And any entry can be deleted. It’s a nice kind of freedom. 

A paper journal has a permanence to it. Maybe that’s why I find them so appealing in their blank state: permanence and possibility with a pretty cover. 

 

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putting one word after another

I think I have been editing for too long, and am getting to the point where I forget how much I actually enjoy writing. Figuring out what comes next, putting one word after another.

While editing I’ve been getting bogged down with big picture things, with tying loose plot strings together in knots and making sense of the thing as a whole. I think the sense of mystery is gone, which is likely good for the novel but not so good for me. I know this story, these characters. It’s like I can see the finished statue in the marble so well that I’ve become impatient with chiseling and polishing and I really want to just whack the whole thing with a hammer.

I keep telling myself to think of it more like painting, that I’m learning as I go and I’ve always had trouble finishing things. With painting it has become easier, I can see and feel when something is done. It’s all there, on a nicely contained surface with corners and I can see it all at once and acknowledge that yes, this is finished, this is complete. But it’s so much harder with pages upon pages of thousands of words, being unable to look at the whole thing at once. Working on one section and then another and still having dozens more that need attention. I suppose it is a matter of learning and gaining perspective, but I’m still finding it difficult.

I started something new this morning. Just a couple hundred words about someplace different. I always start with place, I’ve found. The characters and the events come later, but the place tends to stay the most important. I like this new location, and I’m looking forward to spending time in it, to figuring out the mysteries there by putting one word after another.

But I also need to learn to embrace the less surprising bits and not leave things incomplete and unpolished. To finish with the old places before delving too deeply into the new ones.

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curiouser and curiouser

First blog posts are always difficult. This one is especially problematic since I’m not entirely sure what I want this blog to be just yet. At least it looks pretty.

I have been blogging in various forms for several years, though this is my first WordPress endeavor and I am vaguely overwhelmed with shininess and buttons. I’ll get the hang of it eventually.

And because I have a penchant for significant dates, this blog has the same birthday as I do. Only it is zero years old and I’m thirty. I suppose, if nothing else, this is a new blog for a new-to-me decade of age. I am fond of the number three, and it has been a birthday of books and cupcakes and pomegranate martinis, so that bodes well.

Hopefully this blog will figure out what it wants to be somewhere along the way. Though there will undoubtedly be pictures of kittens.

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