… and i return!

I got back from my holiday last night, after a long car ride. I think I’m going to break my self-imposed rule to leave out personal information on this blog for a (very) brief moment.

The score:

  • 7 days on the shore of the Pacific Ocean.
  • 17 pieces of handmade chocolates bought.
  • 13 pieces of aforementioned chocolates consumed.
  • 7 art galleries visited. I love sculpture.
  • 4 balls of wool yarn and a bamboo crochet needle purchased.
  • 2 crochet lessons during the daily church services.
  • 1 winter scarf created, striped in blues and orange.
  • 1 trip to Powell’s Books.
  • 11 books purchased. I’m an addict.
  • 1 helicopter ride.
  • 2 sunburns.
  • 1 giant sand castle, built with my parents.
  • 1 bottle of raspberry wine purchased, one third consumed (slow drinker).
  • 3 games of putt-putt golf. I was even worse than my mother.
  • 1 and 1/3 great novels read (still working on the second).
  • 8,000 words written on Blue Crystal.
  • 1 and 1/2 chapters completed. Three chapters until the end of this rewrite.
  • 75% of this rewrite finished.

Aside from the (fairly obvious) point that I had a fantastic time and was sorry to leave, these last few items on the list bring a very good point to my attention.

People who keep up with my book’s progress know that I aim for about 4,000 words a week. That’s a little over five hundred words a day. I spent lots of time last week relaxing, reading, shopping, playing on the beach, learning new things. And though I didn’t set any writing goals for myself, my progress on my novel doubled even without a disciplined schedule.

I have a hard time seeing how much energy my job takes away from me. Sometimes I consider taking what savings I have and writing full-time instead. I’m lucky; my mother is an artist, an oil painter enamored of landscapes and still life. Though she doesn’t care for my genre, she understands what I’m doing, and my parents would support me if I did turn my attention to my novel full-time. My dad’s been searching for a job in his field, and may have found a good one by a lake in a smaller town just out of state, though it’s too soon to say (negotiations being what they are). I’d love to be able to write somewhere like that.

I have a good job. I still enjoy it, after a year and a half staying here. Even so… lately something about its feel has changed subtly, like toes brushing against the edge of shoes that used to fit, like Italian bread with a woody crust.

This should be interesting, any way it goes.

vacation

Last time I took time off was Christmas week, back in December. Before that, I took another week off for Thanksgiving to fly over to Indiana (and meet up with an internet writing friend of mine). And now, next week. I’ll be in Oregon from Saturday to next Sunday.

I’ll have the internet, but I’m not sure if I’ll be around. This could give me lots of writing time, or completely distract me from my book altogether. Still, here’s my leave-of-absence notice, which I will almost certainly violate sometime during the week. Hope that I meet cute boys, revive from work, and get lots done!

writer’s conference

I don’t usually talk about myself on this blog… it often makes me feel uncomfortable, and who really needs to hear another person ramble on about themselves? The constant story-thoughts for the story that no one else is reading is certainly bad enough, right? 😉

That said, I came across something interesting today: the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association Writer’s Conference.

Friends and readers probably don’t know anything about me but my literary aspirations (and my age), so I’ll elaborate. My name is Eliza to anyone I’ve met beyond the age of fifteen, Beth to my family and people who knew me as a frizzy-haired child. I have a classic case of ADHD which has taken me most of my life to learn how to disguise, work at a video game testing company, and though I live in Spokane, Washington now, I grew up in various towns around Seattle. Most of my family lives there. My parents may again be living in Seattle within a few weeks, depending on how an interview for a really great job goes (feel free to pray for my dad, if any of you are so inclined– things have been a little tight).

I read about that writer’s conference… and I thought… I could go there. My book’s not ready for submission yet, but I could still network. I could learn how to navigate next year’s con, so that I know what’s going on when I go with a purpose. I could talk about craft (and learn not to grind my teeth down when people start touting what I consider ‘stupid’ rules). And, this is the most interesting note, I could go with a finished rewrite if I pushed myself to go a little faster. I’d have until July 17th. That’s a little over a month to write 40,000 words.

… I did it for NaNoWriMo. I can do it again.

If anyone planning to go reads this, I’ll see you in Seattle.

an interlude

Sleep has never come easily. I remember staring up at the ceiling even when I was very young, watching the shadows of the horizontal blinds move as cars passed by our house, blue and gray walls turning orange and black for a few brief seconds. My bed was tucked beside the wall and away from the path of light and shadow, but I still liked holding my hands up into it, to see the shape they could make as they retreated across the room.

There was one night that I remember distinctly laying in bed, thinking about something I had learned that day, that there were people that spoke languages that weren’t like mine. I was confused, and convinced that regardless, they must still think in English. How could people think differently from me? The concept was abstract, speculative, too far away from my experience. I worked around it. Perhaps, if I learned a new word, I could use that in my thought process. What if that new word happened to be in another language, and I just didn’t realize that? Would I be thinking in words that weren’t my own? Or maybe, just maybe thoughts weren’t words at all. Maybe the images in your head had their own language, a mind-language, that you interpreted as it came to you. That made me feel better, as if I had solved something.

I was five years old. Too young to give voice to the things in my head, aware enough to cry when I heard my parents screaming at each other through the thin walls of our little house, naïve enough to think that making stop signs stopped more than just traffic.


(One of the last writing classes I took in college was on literary non-fiction. It may have been one of the best things for my craft at the time, and I still indulge myself in it now and then.)