Saturday, August 29, 2009

I am not a ghost

Friday was something of a blur. By the end of the day, I had added fever and chills to the sore throat and OMGsinuses. I did fit in some more reading. And I am feeling re-energized about the Heimdal story--hopefully my body is back in some semblance of health next week so that I can actually do something about that.

Earlier this week I was talking with a (very dear and sweet and good) friend. I shared with him my feelings about my new job over at the school, which in a nutshell is that the kids are great and the fellow staff people are fine and nice. But I am reminded, once again, as I have been for most of my life, that I am not quite like those other normal people. Or maybe I am, and I simply don't see it. Whatever the case, I have spent most of my life in the "real world" feeling like a misfit, and now is no different than before.

And my (very dear and sweet and good) friend said to me (in paraphrase), "This is going to sound wrong. But I'm glad you don't fit in, because if you did, you wouldn't be the person we know and love. So... Thanks for being different."

I was moved to tears. It was exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it, and I am grateful for the boost of courage his words have given me.

Go forth and be different.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

To live and die by highway dust

Yesterday morning contained much errand-running but no writing time. Yesterday afternoon, as with pretty much every afternoon this week, contained much playground time with the kindergarten kids. The weather has been hot and muggy, and the playground has a more or less permanent cloud of dust hanging over it. (Apparently there is no child alive who is capable of walking across a patch of bare earth without scuffing their feet through it.) I'm not always on the playground, though, lest you think my new job boring. Sometimes I get to patrol lunch tables, and I even get to loiter outside restrooms on a regular basis while waiting for my young charges to return to me.

This morning, I indulged in more reading and did one last practice run of my writing class lecture. I have ten middle school students in the fiction writing elective I'm teaching, we had our first session this afternoon, and while they were mostly very quiet and a little uncertain, I think it went well. I saw a few sparks in eyes as I was talking, and I have high hopes that I will see more as we all get to know each other and feel more comfortable.

In the meantime, I am nursing a really sore throat and serious sinus drainage, brought on at least in part, I'm sure, by the previously mentioned cloud of dust in which I spend a fair chunk of my day.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Simply a look can break your heart

This morning's agenda included grocery shopping and putting gas in the van after dropping the boys off at school. I forgot to stop and get gas, of course. This is why I start trying to remember at half a tank and don't wait until I really need to fill up. And then of course Avie and I had to haul the groceries into the house and put them away. This is not the small task you'd think when you're buying for teen/preteen boys. Did I mention that Michael has also now outgrown me? He was about the same height when I measured him for clothes the week before school started; by the end of the first week of school, he was an inch taller. I'll have to post a picture of my shaggy, facial-hair-sporting pair of young men.

I did a run-through of my writing class lecture, and it feels about right now. Now I'm just waiting on a head count for the class so I know how many papers to print out for them. And I can mentally prepare myself for whatever size the class is.

On the writing front:
  1. I uh... found some stuff to read. I haven't actually had a chance to sit down and READ yet. I will probably do that while eating lunch, which for me these days is more like a really late breakfast and will be very soon.
  2. Iris is speaking more clearly in my head. The initial breakdown of her character is in the very first scene, and I know how to fix that. All else should follow from there. I just need to sit down and do it. I will probably use my remaining time for item 1 today, and open the ms to start scene 1 fixes tomorrow.
Tomorrow includes an orthodontist visit. That'll be three days running of morning errands, which often makes it hard to get the writing in. But I've still managed to accomplish something each day, even if they were just little things. It's a start.

Monday, August 24, 2009

When you come back in from nowhere

I made a brief side trip on the way home from dropping the boys off at school, to buy stickers to use as bribes... err... positive reinforcement for my kindergarten bunch. After taking a shower and working down the list of phone calls I needed to make this morning for assorted doctor and dental appointments, I delivered my fiction class lecture to myself, found it lacking in a couple of areas, and sat down to work out the trouble spots.

On the writing front, I made a two-item list for this week:
  1. Immerse myself in reading again, because swimming in other writers' words often helps me reconnect with my own.
  2. Think about my main character in the Heimdal story and figure out where the strong-willed woman I thought she was got lost in the existing draft, so I can help her dig out again and light the story on fire.
I have begun work on item 1 and have a reasonably good idea how to accomplish item 2. Checking Monday off my list and gearing up to move on to the non-creative portion of my day.

Friday, August 21, 2009

I wear the scars that prove

We made it through week one of my new job as after-school caregiver for the kindergarten age group at the boys' school. It wasn't the smoothest ride ever, but most of the bumps were caused by adjustments related to my job and not to the boys and school. They rode it out like pros; I'm hoping that what I learned this week will help me handle next week a little better. We're all exhausted, but we survived. Now to make it through the rest of the school year...

Middle school electives were preempted for the first week, so I have yet to get my feet wet on the fiction writing class. I was approached by one seventh grader who asked me to tell her more about the class so she could decide if she wanted to take it. During the course of our conversation, her face lit up a couple of times. Hopefully this is a good sign.

Nothing related to my own writing has happened this week, again. But there's been some rustling around and exasperated sighs from my muse, so one of my tasks for the weekend is to assess my new schedule and pencil in my writing time, along with specific goals for the next couple of months.

Hang on, Muse. Organizer-lady will soon ride to your rescue.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Until then I'll have to find a way

Just in time to join forces with the emotional downswing mentioned in my previous blog entry, I received a rejection letter from Steeple Hill on my submission there. Oddly, it wasn't the devastating blow one might expect--the up side of submitting a lot is that you get rejected a lot is that you build up a thick skin. Would it have been nice to get an offer? Hell, yeah. But I've kept my options open. That one story isn't the only ball I have in play.

Still, I just felt so. Damned. Tired.

So, I took a little vacation from the writing gig. No whining, no guilt trip, just threw my hands in the air and said "I give up." Total surrender. I'm feeling a little less burned out, at this point. I have some vague ideas on new directions.

I'm still not forcing anything. School starts in a week and a half, and my two new "jobs" along with it. I have lesson plans I'm still finalizing, clothes and supplies to shop for, a deck that needs to be refinished, and a growing case of nerves over those two new jobs. I am giving myself permission to handle those things and get a grip on the new school year routine before I sit down with the muse and the super-organizer and try to hammer out details on our new game plan.

Not done yet. Just taking a few deep breaths.