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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Celebrations, November 7, 2014

Each Friday brings VikLit's Celebrate the Small Things blog hop, a brilliant idea conceived by Viklit (address below).  We post every Friday, and we tell of the things we are celebrating that week. 

One-Eyed Orlando

With me, it has been a nice week. 

(1)  I have a cat, Orlando, who lost his eye to a mishap that required surgery a little over a week ago.  He is healing well, and the 'Cone of Annoyance' comes off tomorrow.   It could have been so much worse.  I had a one-eyed cat who lived to a week shy of his seventeenth birthday.  He coped beautifully with being one-eyed, and Orlando seems to be doing well, also, though he truly detests the collar.  That will be coming off Saturday. 

(2)  I'll be making pop-overs for breakfast, along with bacon (a reason in itself to celebrate!) and nice, hot tea.  Little things, but enjoyable. 

(here is my recipe:

375 degree oven
muffin pans (deep is nice) greased and sitting in the oven while you mix the batter:

1C flour
1 c milk
3 lightly beaten eggs
1/2 tsp salt

Don't over-beat the batter.  A light hand is best.

Take the hot pan from the oven and quickly fill the wells 2/3 full with batter.  Half full is fine.  Don't over-fill.  Bake in a hot oven for 30 minutes.  Resist the urge to open the oven door to see if the things are popping.  They tend to be bashful in that regard.

Remove from pans (sometimes they will stick), butter and eat.  Some of my friends prefer to just melt and drink butter.  They have no sense of adventure.   You can serve the pop-overs with jam; I prefer them plain.

Anyone from the UK will probably recognize the basic recipe for Yorkshire Pudding, which I also love, but I don't spend a lot of time roasting beef.  Hm...  Maybe I will do that this weekend...


I'll be going to a gem show this weekend. All sorts of gemstones, precious or semi-precious, lots of things to see, and if you are a people-watcher, it is especially enjoyable.  If you view the video, do turn off the sound.  And please note: just looking is free and fun.

What are you celebrating?

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Iwsg November 5 - Just do it #IWSG

The first Wednesday of the month is the time for the Insecure Writer's Support Group blog hop. This is the once-a-month blog hop started by Alex J. Cavanaugh .

IWSG = Insecure Writers' Support Group (click for the link).  We share our insecurities and support each other with empathy, sympathy and  practical suggestions. 

Visit the site - and visit the co-hosts:
LG Keltner, Donna Hole, Lisa Buie-Collard and SL Hennessy

Art work by Ben Southan
Over the past months, I have been wrestling with all sorts of writing-related questions.  For me, at least, they never come one at a time, small and easily dealt with. 

Instead, they cluster around the door of my thoughts like wolves and go rushing in if I let them.  Fighting them off is tiring and usually an exercise in futility.

There are questions regarding my writing in general:
  • Is it good? (Pretty important, actually… )
  • Is it the best I can do? (See above)
  • I’m tired: how can I write anything good when I am exhausted? That requires a little extra thought.

Then come the questions regarding works in particular:
  • Will it sell? (Speaking strictly from the ‘art’ standpoint, this should not be so important a question, but we do tend to equate quality of writing with saleability, whether or not we recall our earlier sneers at various best-selling offerings that appear to have been cranked out on a conveyor belt by someone who, we say, has prostituted his or her talent to profitability)

Questions regarding the flow of my writing and the value of my current WIP:

  • Does this WIP follow well after its predecessor? Does it pick up the threads and weave them convincingly? 
  •  Is it bad? The predecessor was really good, so why does this one stink? (I’m getting ahead of myself, but if I were not – at the time I squall this to the heavens – really tired and off my game, I would admit that a story with three years of effort going into producing it is naturally better, at the moment, than one that is just underway. And I would also acknowledge that, this being a series, I am building on the structure that I hopefully perfected in Volume I and will bring to a thundering, triumphant conclusion in Volume III.)
  • …and why, oh why, is Volume III, nearly completely visualized, so much more seductive than Volume II, which I have had to insert between I and III?

Hydra by John Singer Sargent
How do you cope?
As with all questions posted on this wonderful hop, these are nothing new. 

Like the Hydra in Greek Mythology, though, they  do tend to come back every time you think you have killed it.

It's a condition peculiar to writers.
(I remember the story of a young actress telling the great Sarah Bernhardt that she never, ever had stage fright.  La Bernhardt said, 'Well, ma petite, when you become a real actress you will!')

What is the answer?

November is NaNoWriMo time. We are supposed to write, write, WRITE!!! for thirty days straight and come up with 50,000 words. I am not participating this year because I have committed to get Volume II (of The Orphan’s Tale) whacked into a shape where I will not die of embarrassment when I send it to my editors at month’s end and then, heaven help them, to anyone who volunteers to be a beta reader. Publication is tentatively slated for Spring 2015. But the concentration on writing itself swung my attention toward the answer to this and just about any angst-related, insecurity-generated question that a writer can face:

Just write. 
  • Write what comes out the ends of my fingers.
  • Close my eyes and write. 
  • Wake up and see what I have written and laugh hysterically and resolve NOT to do this at 11pm on a weeknight. 
  • Realize that I am not carving things into a block of marble. I am putting out words, and words can be tweaked (the part I personally love the most).

But I'll write. That is what a writer does. 
And just producing the raw material, which I can squint at, groan over and ultimately fix, somehow, for me at least, smooths away the worries. 
When I an clicking into productivity and actually doing what it is that I live to do, I am invincible, at least in my own mind.

Then I'll go over what I have written. Use my wordsmithing abilities and work on it. I'll just do it. Mark things up, rewrite, groan.

I’ll be too busy to be insecure.  And I'll be writing, which is, after all, what I live to do.