Friday, June 25, 2010

When the hitman comes, he knows damn well he has been cheated

I am officially in full summer mode--I can barely keep track of what day it is, let alone tell you what I accomplished or did not accomplish over the last week. At least, not without thinking about it really hard. And I am going to pass on that.

I can tell you that the house is mostly clean, the laundry mostly caught up, and the kitchen well-stocked enough to prevent starvation. We have taken walks, sat on the back deck and read or talked, played cards, played Rock Band, and just generally enjoyed each others' company while also finding time to go off and do our own individual things. The whole "late to bed, late to rise" thing is kinda nice, too. I know I'll pay for it when I have to readjust in August, but right now, I just don't care.

On the writing front, I am making no plans. No outlines. No word count meters. I'm trying to put in at least a couple of hours a day toward doing something writing-related, but that's the limit of my goals for now. What I have been doing is working on Crowmaker. In a very laid-back, roundabout, no pressure kind of way. Vincent suggested another song for his playlist today. I have been reading up on assorted, semi-related historical topics as it strikes my fancy. I have written the skeletons of a couple of new scenes. But that's all I'm going to say about that, for fear of scaring off the muse.

In the meantime, I am steadfastly refusing to think beyond the end of June. 

Sunday, June 13, 2010

We're all okay, until the day we're not

The week in review:

I don't feel like I accomplished a great deal, at least from a tangible perspective. (In other words, you can't tell I've done much just by looking at the state of my house. Although honestly, just keeping dishes and laundry caught up is a feat unto itself. And the summer version of grocery shopping, oh God.) But I did get my closet cleaned out. And my piano bench, which was just about as cluttered. And I figured out a couple more details about how I might like to set up the after school writing club(s) I might like to set up next school year. And while my original plan was to look over some short fiction and see what could be done with it, my fictional version of Tenskwatawa* popped his head into my brain and informed me that he knew how to fix Crowmaker. Or at least part of it. I didn't keep track of word count, but I did some fiddling with his ideas, and they seem to be working. I guess they didn't call him The Prophet for nothing.

 As for the week ahead... Y'know, I don't know. Obviously, I have several writing-related things I could work on. And a list of household stuff that we could do. But as to exactly what we'll do and when? I think we'll just play it by ear. Chill, Lori. It's summer.

*You can Google to get a basic idea who he was, but after the research I've done on him, his brother, and that historical period in general, I can only add that you should take everything you read online with a grain of salt. It's also highly likely that I have such a solid vision of my fictional version of the man that even reading proven facts might cause me to grind my teeth if they didn't match up with what MY Tens is like. And of course there's always the "history is written by the victors" aspect, too.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Peace and harmony don't come in packages with bows

Week in review:

Big package of peace and harmony, accompanied by a little writing, a little reading, and a resurgence in my interest in piano. Also perhaps some playing of video games. By Thursday or so I could feel a hint of restless start to creep in, along with the growing urge to plan something. Organize something. Accomplish something. I managed to put it off by telling it we could start a fresh work week on Monday morning.

The guys arrived home yesterday morning, along with a lot of dirty laundry, sun tanned necks and arms, and fish stories. I am happy to have them home, but I am finding that my previously rested and ready to work brain is feeling all muddled and tired again. Once my senses have readjusted to the company of others, I'm sure I'll be back into plotting and planning mode again.

Looking ahead:

Assorted housekeeping to be done, along with a trip to the library to meet Joey's request to start reading The Dark Tower series. (Assuming they have a copy of The Gunslinger. I have all the rest of the series, I think, so I may just have to buy that one, too. Maybe I'll have to reread along behind him. I never finished the series, because I took a years-long break in the middle of it and could just not get back into it after that. Or maybe, given my mixed reaction to The Dome, I'm just over King.) And both boys have requested to have their buddies over for airsoft, music playing, video games, and clearing out the fridge and pantry of all snack-like foodstuffs, so we'll have to set that up.

Somewhere in all that, I need to get my personal "work hours" set up, so that I can focus on the Big Plans for Writing Classes and Finishing Some Short Fiction. I think once the boys and I are home a few days and fall into a summer daily routine, I will feel more settled once again.

In the meantime:  Fishing trip pictures!

And also, it has come to my attention that while I posted this announcement on Facebook, I neglected to mention it here. The Four Horsemen anthology has been released!  (OK, technically it's been out for over a month now. I can't believe I forgot to post the news here.)

Incidentally, anyone here who wants to look me up on Facebook can find me as Lori Rosenbalm Erickson.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

We face the dark 'til we see the light

I told myself that June 1 would be a good day to dust off the blog, give it a fresh new look, and start posting again. So here I am!

We have survived the end of the school year, I am now the mother of a high school freshman and a 7th grade student who has less than a year left before he becomes a full-fledged teen, too, and all the assorted men in my life are off together on a week-long fishing trip. This has left me with Avie and a whole lot of peace, quiet, and privacy in which to find my center and reassess the state of my writing career, such as it is.

My stint with Extended Care is over. I have enjoyed working with preschool and kindergarten kids, and I do not regret having taken on that job over the past year. However, I also think I made a good call in deciding to not continue with that job in the future. As I may have mentioned previously, I am a serious introvert. As in, I score at or close to 100% on the introvert side of the scale anytime I've tested for it. And since an introvert's energy is drained by being around other people, and young children tend to be the drainingest drainers that walk the earth, that particular job on a day to day basis is probably not healthy for me in the long run.

I also enjoyed the time I spent teaching the creative writing elective at the middle school. I was worried that I wouldn't be able to stand at the center of attention in the front of a classroom for 45 minutes a week and think of interesting, educational things to say to a bunch of 6th-8th grade students without shriveling up and dying. I am, however, still kicking. Not everything went as I'd hoped, but I learned a lot about teaching in general and about how to draw and hold the interest of that age group. I've put together a general plan for next year's elective that hopefully successfully incorporates all those things I learned. I also have tentative plans to start an after school writing club or two, but I'd like to wait until after the school year starts before making decisions or seeking school approval for that. And I have all summer to think through the details.

On the writing front, I have not done a whole awful lot of actual writing since my last post here. I have, however, done a lot of reading, because reading counts as writing work but requires less mental effort than coming up with my own words. Crowmaker is... something. A longer draft than I had previously, but still not coming together in quite the way I'd envisioned. I'm going to let it sit a while longer, I believe, let it breathe and ferment and not try to force it. If it takes me years more before I manage to figure out what it takes to make that story work, then so be it. In the meantime, I have a handful of flash and short stories in assorted stages of development, including some really rough drafts I've scribbled down as they've come at me. I'm not forcing myself to do anything this week, because it is my vacation, damn it, and I've earned it. I can feel all the little pieces of my brain and creative energy settling back into a comfortable pattern, so I'm going to let it settle. But I think those short pieces will be at the top of my list of writing stuff to work on over the summer.

So, in summary: Vacation. To be followed by The Return of the Children and Decisions About What We're Doing This Summer, in conjunction with Big Plans for Writing Classes and Finishing Some Short Fiction. Sounds like enough of a plan to be comfortable, but not so much plan that it threatens to overwhelm.