May 4th, 2009

Hearth

Monday

Medical
Sold lavender products to benefit BARCC... the Hrvard Square Business Association promised chairs, but did not deliver. So. Standing and bouncing around on concrete for four hours, plus a brief recon after, plus walking home from the bus, meant I was utterly exhausted and felt like knives were being pounded up my calves. Napped heavily but briefly, and had very interrupted sleep. Legs still hurt this morning.

Organization
I'm at the point of aaaagh too much to do that my priority this morning is making my grand household to-do list, so I can pick one Big Thing a day to do and don't pressure myself to do all the Big Things at once. I actually have no plans for this week, save Elayna's spring concert Tuesday night, so this is the perfect time to accomplish things like the big BPAL weeding and the winter/spring closet changeover.

Raffle
After finishing ticket allocation and doing the draw this morning, that is!

Sending Elayna to Explo
I can't yet give a breakdown of funds raised in terms of raffle vs. GGC vs. regular WTD vs. WTD book presales. What I can say is that Elayna is going to Explo, including the New York/Yale trip. When I told her, she squeed and bounced and hugged. :)

So thank you, everyone. So much. If you won or donated an item, you'll get an e-mail from me this afternoon; I'll post when those are sent.

Stories to Read
* "The Sound of Gears", by theferrett
* "The Devonshire Farms", by alankria
* "Red Dust", by dulcinbradbury
* "The Lost Diary of Treefrog7", by Nnedi Okorafor

Daily Science
Magnetic tornadoes form when the magnetic field in the solar wind links up to the field generated by a planet, a process called magnetic reconnection. Bundles of magnetic field lines connect the surface of the planet directly to the surface of the sun, and as the solar wind pushes them away from the sun, they twist and whirl like cyclones. On Earth, these cyclones (technically called “flux transfer events”) dance on the ionosphere, creating the Northern Lights and messing up GPS systems.
On Mercury, though, the twisters were 10 times as strong as any magnetic cyclones observed on Earth. With so little atmosphere to interfere, Mercury’s magnetic tornadoes are great spinning chutes that ionized gas can slide down.
“They act as magnetic channels or open windows that allow solar wind plasma from the sun, very fast and very hot, to come right down those field lines and impacts the surface,” said Jim Slavin of NASA Goddard Spaceflight Center. When the gas hits the surface, it knocks off neutrally-charged atoms and sends them on a loop high into the sky.


Plans
Raffle disposition, writing post, listmaking, writing, possible closet changeover.
Figuring shit out

Me and my writing, part one

First, a quick history for the New Kids:

I've been writing since I was a wee thing. I got derailed by my crazy adolescence leading to having adventures leading to the rape and subsequent seven years of shock and silence and figuring out who I was now. 'Round the end of those seven years, I met Mousegrrl, who wanted to do a comic but didn't have a story. I had a story. Shayara - the story I told myself to keep myself sane through all those years. My city, my world.

We worked on that together for years; that was marked by some flakiness and not much actual work getting done. When Mouse left the project for good in early '07, I was left with one 8-page comic, a handful of character portraits, and a website I didn't know how to use. I launched it anyway in March '07, desperately trying to write, wrangle art from various friends, and teach myself how to use the website all at once. During my worst fibro flare ever. This... did not work. And I put Shayara on hiatus, burned out and angry and brokenhearted.

After driving myself crazy and breaking my heart and mind on this wheel for so long, I fell into a depression that's highly predictable in retrospect. I decided to haul myself out by writing anything but Shayara, and Wind Tunnel Dreams was born - I wrote in a different world every day.

This worked tremendously, both in terms of hauling me back to functionality and in trms of stretching my brain. Emboldened by readers' reactions, I submitted the first poem I'd written in years - and it was enthusiastically accepted.

!!!

WTD led directly or indirectly to many of my publications to date, giving me story seeds or just giving my mind a framework in which to play. It worked to pry the portal to story open.

But it also led to a certain resentment, over the course of 2008. Because writing became a thing I did for money, and a thing I did on demand. I stopped doing WTD at the end of '08 just because I actively resented that aspect of it so damned much. I wanted to write what I wanted to write, and not be chained to produce produce produce.

And... I've only completed one story this year.

And I had to look at why. And the why is really, really clear, just looking back at my recurring lament over the course of 2009 - I keep trying to shove novel-sized concepts into short stories.

Why? Because short stories sell, and I have momentum that I have to take advantage of, so I hafta hafta hafta write short stories. So again and again I started something, discovered that dammit, this was a novel, AGAIN, and shoved it aside to write once I had some short fiction to sell... because editors ask me to send more, and I don't have it, and I need to do this to build a career.

To understand this, it perhaps helps to read this article.

Excerpt: "Now that I live with chronic illness, I can feel the cost of domestic labor; it’s taken out of my hide, as my grandmother would have put it. I studied my spoon theory first-hand. I should be way ahead of those whose understanding is limited by chronic wellness. But sometimes I still find myself surrounded by homemade food and freshly washed clothes and lamenting, “I haven’t done anything today!”"

When you are chronically ill and/or disabled, the pressure to Do Something Today is tremendous. I have this same guilt whenever Adam does a chore - I'm home all day, I should be doing that! Never mind that it costs him half a spoon and it costs me five. He's working and I'm not.

This is a HUGE stumbling block for me - He's working. And I'm not.

So how dare I waste time on things I can't sell right now to help support my household?

And - "He's working and I'm not" is a direct contradiction to "Writing is real work" and "Parenting is real work" and "Managing the household is real work", and I have those things in opposition in my head all the time, exerting more pressure every week that I wasn't producing.

I should note that none of this is coming from Adam. Adam fully acknowledges that writing is my job; he supports and encourages me. This whole guilt trip is my brain.

And part of it is the fact that without a Day Job, I'm at loose ends. I have work ethic like whoa, and no way to use it for pay. (BARCC has been tremendously useful for this, in ways that I'll detail in a separate post.) So I always have that script running in the back of my head, that I'm not working and I'm failing to provide for my family; that in turn puts the pressure on to sell sell sell.

And you know what? The sell sell sell mentality kills my writing.

I've been thinking about this a lot. To the point of telling Adam and Mark that I was thinking of giving the whole this up. Because I never wanted to enter a publication mill. I just wanted to write. And I had lost my joy.

Both of the guys knew that quitting wasn't actually an option; the stories are always there, and the guys asked what they were doing, and I said "They're waiting til I can write them as novels, and I hafta write short stories first, and I will never get to this..."

And finally, talking to Adam, I jumped the groove on that broken record, and I came up with something that works for me. I will jut write them as novels. I will devote May to generating short fiction to toss back into the publication mill to keep my name out there and hopefully keep the publications coming. With the understanding that I get to write the novel-length stories starting in June. I will eat my veggies so I can have ice cream. And this way, there is an end in sight. This is a finite period, and I can structure finite periods.

So that's where that is.

There's more. I will have breakfast, then write the next part.
Julia - Fandom

Me and my writing, part two

"This is a Halloran song," I said to Mark Saturday night as Blue October played "Congratulations". And "This is Tessa and the kids," for "She's My Ride Home", et cetera.

Last month, at Enter the Haggis's show, I did the same thing - "The Litter and the Leaves" is a new Kirayth anthem, for example.

I stopped writing Shayara for two reasons. 1. The website issues and art wrangling were driving me crazy, and 2... I no longer had the "homesick for a place I've never been" feeling. I'd found my home.

What now?

Shayara has always been there in the back of my head. The characters never stopped living and developing and interacting. I just didn't have the drive for it... in large part because I was in a publishing mindset, and Shayara, as it is, seems unpublishable. It is a twisty world of story, art, music, puzzles, ten characters' views of the same thing, stuff you can only do on the web. And I pushed it to the back of my head because I have to work work work, you know?

But it lives in every song I sing. It is my mind and heart, and it is my way of explaining myself to the world. This is what I believe - in everything Julia does in Act Three, in the way Kieran governs his House, in the way Donna keeps the history. Shayara is me.

And... I got homesick again. Heartsick homesick.

I'm going home.

I still need to figure out how I'm going about it. Continuing it as a web-based serial? If so, I'll write things before the last minute - I'd want Act One done before I start posting. Do it as a series of novels? Don't know. Can I write it as I'm writing other things, side by side? That'd be ideal. If I'm also writing things I can sell, I won't have The Guilt over writing something unsellable.

I'll figure it out.

The important thing is that I'm going home, and I will take you with me.
Everything hurts/Doesn't work

raffle update

My brain is looking at the lists of tickets to be allocated and not holding the numbers. Some of the last-minute sponsorships were big, so I have multiple long and complicated lists. And my brain is tired - I was up with pain-flares from 2-4something.

I do NOT want to make a mistake!

So I'm going to wait on that til Adam gets home and can read things off to me. Which means the draw will be tonight.

All apologies! The numbers are just slipping around in there, and I do not want to mess any of it up.

EDIT: Tomorrow. Sorry, guys... Adam was really tired, too.