I’ve made it through a whole week under my new plan to get up early to write. That would be early as is in before 6:00 a.m. most days (the only exception was 6:30 on Saturday). Of course, I’m ready to go to sleep by 9:00 p.m., but I can live with that if I stay so productive. Shocking as it is, this schedule is working well for me.
Two things kicked off this radical change. The first was a conversation with the excellent Eileen Gunn (Night Person), who said she’d been doing the early thing. I was dubious — I’ve been aware of this strategy for a long time but I find getting up in the morning so painful I didn’t think it would work for me.
The second thing is jetlag. On my first night back in GMT I woke up at 3:00 a.m. I tried to go back to sleep, but instead ended up with a story idea. By then it was almost 5:00 and I figured I might as well get up and outine it. And after that I figured I’d work on the novel rewrites I was so excited about. When I woke up at 4:30 the next morning, an idea for the rewrite got me out of bed at 5:15. And when the same thing happened again the next morning, I realized this early morning was crazy it just might work.
I didn’t blog-holler about the fact that Kris Dikeman’s fabulous “Nine Sundays in a Row” appeared on Strange Horizons back on the 27th of October, because I wasn’t blog-anything at the time. But now I am, and you should go read it. It was among my favorite stories turned in by my Clarion West class, and I’m very glad it’s found a home, especially one as good as Strange Horizons. Go, Baci Galoo!
Somehow I lost the will to blog, alas right around the time life started to get really interesting. I have been forcibly assured by many of you that Blogging is Good, and I’ve finally come around to agreeing.
For example, if I didn’t blog, how would everyone know that the 32-character limit for titles in British Airways’ On Demand movie system rendered Brendon Frasier’s latest flick as Journey to the Center of the Ear?
So, yes, I’m back, really. Let us resume the bumpy journey to the center of my ears.
Baby’s first podcast is up at Podcastle now — I was lured in by the opportunity to read John Schoffstall’s “Fourteen Experiments in Postal Delivery”, which is funny as all get out and gives me an opportunity to say “cooter” outside a Sharon Stone context. Also, I finally got some practical use out of studying Middle English in undergrad (*shakes fist at the Pearl Poet*).
There are naughtier and cursier bits than “cooter”, so consider it NSFW unless you’re wearing headphones.
What have I been doing, not just in the last month but since, well, draw a line back as far as you care to reach. I’m not gonna say. The main thing is that it wasn’t writing, at least not enough of it. For the last few couple months I have been editing, picking off the low-hanging fruit of unfinished stories, and, mixing metaphors, saving up the lumpy little seed pearls of ideas that won’t shine off each other when strung together. And I have been chicken-shit-scarred of the new novel, not even letting myself get all day-dreamy about the characters, which, you know, kind of impairs the process.
But today — oh, yeah. Today a down-list project (opening monologue written two, almost three years ago) decided to muscle it’s way to the front of the queue. And damn if it isn’t ready to go now, no further fucking around tolerated, there is a story to be told, hallelujah and amen.
And the best part is that a wrote the last scene today. This is my thing: if I have Point A and Point B, and can make it though all the weirdness of the square root of 2 (damn, I wish I could that in ASCII).
Last night I dreamt that a friend of mine who is finishing up a novel (that’s at least six of you, and I’m not saying which one) was trapped in a submarine with Michelle Malkin. Throughout the dream I made various attempts at rescue, because that seemed like a really difficult environment to work in.
The thing is, I had never even heard of Michelle Malkin until last night, when the ABC debate travesty got me reading Wonkette for the first time in…years (at some point the political situation in the U.S. just stopped being funny to me, which, given my taste, could be a sign of the apocalypse).
Anyway, I mention this on the off chance that the dream was prophetic. Dear Novelists of My Acquaintance: never, ever get in a submarine with Michelle Malkin. Also, never put salt in your eyes.
I remember, once a year in my kidhood, leaping out of bed and dashing to the living room where I would find glorious piles of bright, shining paper, and oh yes, there would be joy.
Now I am an adult, and once a year I stumble out of bed and march grimly to the living room to find piles, yes, and paper, yes, but they are receipts and bank statements and 1099s and utilities bills.
And there is no joy, only relief when at last I click Send and off goes a megabyte worth of convoluted data to my accountant, who — God bless her and her patient ways — last year edged out my therapist as the Most Important Professional in my life. I used to be stubborn about doing my taxes myself, but now that I’m living abroad and self-employed and so on, I need the guidance of someone deeply informed and not panicky.
A couple of weeks ago I whined to my mother about how much I missed form 1040EZ, and she tactfully reminded me that when I was using that form I was reporting income derived from cleaning the wax out of hearing aids. So I can’t really complain. Except on April 15th, when it is every American’s right to complain volubly, no matter who privileged they are (see also the first Tuesday in November).
At last I’ve realized: if I wait until I can explain, contextualize, and fill in the gaps; if I try to capture all of the high points, low points, and funny bits; if I catch up on overdue personal e-mail before I make a public post…
…I will never ever update this blog again. And as several of you have insisted that would be bad:
Hi, I’m Jane. Somehow I live in London and Seattle. You can tell this is true because I have books and irons + ironing boards and clothes and coffee grinders and hair dryers in both places. Small appliances with various plugs and appetites for voltage are a sure sign of the geographically conflicted.
I would add Loved Ones among the appliances, but by that measure I also live in Southern California and New York (City and Upstate) and San Francisco and other places. And maybe I do. Â But sadly a person can only have so many coffee grinders.