On the tenth day out…

Tracking preventatives
Grotesque underlying emails
Their rough surface makes entrance and exit easier

— the latest #spamcommentary.

I finished NaNoWriMo on November 20th. Unlike previous sorties, it wasn’t a strain: more like receiving a daily flu shot than suffering from a post-apocalyptic plague, pun fully intended.

[NaNoWriMo 2019 Winner]

I will give credit where credit is due to 4TheWords.  I signed up for it in 2016, and never activated my membership, for ReasonsIDon’tEvenRemember.  This time around through NaNoWriMo, I decided to give the app a legitimate try just to see if slaying monsters with words could help me think of creative writing as something I want to do as opposed to Yet One More Thing I Have To Get To And Ideally Through Before I Get Whatever Sleep I Can Manage.  I did enjoy Habitica in my early days using it (before it became Just Another Grind for me), and I figured that I might get the same sort of boost from 4TheWords.  It was a sound assumption:  the app did help, in a ticking timer sort of way that was more fun to keep pace with than any of the actual ticking timers that I use daily.

I didn’t get anywhere close to a first draft on the literary science fiction thing I was poking at, but I wrote enough of a skeleton to realize what critical body parts the novel is missing:  mainly, a compelling reason for the protagonist not to spend his next Wednesday afternoon trying to get run over by a self-driving bus.  Correction, a compelling reason to keep his author from wanting him to spend his next Wednesday afternoon trying to get run over by a self-driving bus.

Actually, I’m not sure that would be a terrible opening scene.  A reader could have so many questions, like …  why is this guy out running around in traffic trying to get run over?  Why is he so frustrated that it isn’t working?  How are the passengers reacting to all this?  Are they even noticing, or are they lost in their personal entertainment/communication/portable computing devices?  The downside to the scene would be that I’d have to come up with a character motivation more uhm, something than “I am doing this because my author has it out for me”.

Speaking of such things, work is still trying to eat my life, despite my occasional best efforts to coat myself in hot pepper sauce, metaphorically speaking. During my more awake moments I have been questioning if I am just wired to take on projects and roles that will keep me insanely busy because I have some pathological need to have someone else set my priorities, or at least give me a reasonably lucrative excuse to get out of doing laundry or deciding what I want to be when I grow up.

Not that work is stopping me from accomplishing stuff outside of work.  Ref: NaNoWriMo, mostly keeping up with the Duolingo French practice, parenting, unpacking, studying, decorating, and dealing with approximately a hundred different contractors while we were prepping the old house for sale.

And it is now freaking sold, so we can celebrate by, uh, buying a lawn tractor.  Also, furniture.  Curtains.  A composter.  Yay!

Between Ghosts

Far seeing once meant
The future withholds wonderful things,
Private answers all remarkably admitted.
Now, it predicts breakfast.

-11.20.2017, the latest #spampoetry

My WordPress spam has gotten tedious. It’s increasingly disgusting ads, over and over, sprinkled with admonitions for me to monetize or SEOize this site using some method which must not be very good, else spammers wouldn’t need to advertise it.

However, my Google Junk Mail folder continues to provide useful crap for spackling into poetry.

On This Side

I turned in the project, as I promised myself. I didn’t notice until afterwards that I’d submitted it on the first anniversary of Mom’s death.

Not that I forgot, good grief, no, I just didn’t notice while I was submitting it, in the same sense that I always remember that there’s laundry to be done, but I sometimes don’t notice that there are clean clothes in the dryer that need to be put away first.

I didn’t do anything dramatic like pick up the phone to tell her and remember she wasn’t alive to tell. Honestly, Mom was the last person I wanted to talk to about such things. I got good at dealing with her stumbling across the ones I didn’t hide as well as most, because they were all at a temporal remove where I could shrug them off as meaning little to me, yep, no big deal, nothing to worry about, let’s talk about your day.

There’s a why behind that, but it’s a long story that I don’t intend to tell. It’d be too one-sided now.

A Learning Experience

There wasn’t any spam in my comments inbox when I checked it earlier. Either the spammers have figured out that I cut up their messages and turn them into word collages, or I haven’t posted enough.

Alright. I haven’t posted at all in months. Still not sure that any isn’t actually too much, but, hey.

The posting frequency will pick up in November, because I’ve talked myself into doing NaNoWriMo again. This year, I won’t be trying to do it in conjunction with multiple for hire book projects and classes and process/systems analysis work and a stream of proposal writing gigs and being Mom and Wife and Crazed Thanksgiving Piewright and whatever-the-heck-else. I’ll just be those (at least) nine people1, and yes, take classes and do the process/systems analysis work, and okay, there’s this business development gig that I might be doing and the proposal work’s still going on, and … yeah, it really doesn’t sound that much different from last November, does it?

The real difference, sure, is the absence of “multiple for hire book projects”. Those left me feeling like I’d signed up to be a brain donor in a zombie hospital’s ER.  I could not Weird Think for months, which was not only sad but pretty damn scary — though, granted, maybe not for the people who live with me.  It was the first time that doing creative work had ever drained me to the point where a good night’s sleep and playing in dirt and getting out to see trees didn’t fix it.2 But, I’m better3 now, thanks to a summer-long stint of armadilloing, which included not taking classes and making myself read a few fat novels off my TBR pile.4

This all was, as we say at home, a Learning Experience.

1You can find me on the NaNoWriMo site (and some other places) as Nineme.
2To paraphrase One Republic, the love ran out. I generally eventually hate everything I write (which is a sign to me that it’s close to done), but I never start out that way. Looking at a blank Page One and hating it as much as if I’d just typed “The End”? Not good.  Not good at all.
3For certain values of ‘better’. I’m no longer walking around feeling like I’m wearing a metal bucket on my head with holes cut out for my eyes.
4I’ve made my peace with Goodreads. I’ve haven’t yet worked myself up to broadcasting my opinions about the books I read, but, hey, baby steps.

NaNoWriMo 2014: What Day Is This?

Now together with all the harmful toxins
It is a great strategy to have your own
Fantastic, quick time passer
Most likely
The most effectively
Interesting things
You’ll be able to take anywhere

-today’s #spampoetry

I hit 50K yesterday. Good lord, no, not on the project that I was trying to finish during NaNoWriMo. The edits on The Madness Gate are currently at 9,847 — I might hit 15K by the end of the month, but there’s no way I’ll hit the 50K, not with my having just over double that due on a contract project in mid-December.1

So, I’m not going to win NaNoWriMo this time. I’m calling it now. Yep. So definitely not.

And I don’t feel a bit guilty or embarrassed about that, ’cause, crap, I’m averaging about 2,600K a day daily now — not counting e-mails or analysis briefs — without breaking too much of a sweat.

In other news, the Deluge O’Spam comments continue. A lot of them are now in Japanese. I imagine they’d be more entertaining if I could remember more from my two semesters of the language than 私は日本語を話すことはありません (and I’m not too sure about that).

While I was skimming through the non-Japanese ones looking for poetry building blocks, I noticed one that seemed almost genuine.

Submitted on 2014/11/05 at 9:20 pm
First off I would like to say fantastic blog! I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your mind before writing. I have had trouble clearing my thoughts in getting my ideas out there. I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like
the first 10 to 15 minutes are generally wasted just trying to figure out how to begin. Any recommendations or hints? Cheers!

Four quick answers:

1) Aromatherapy. I like bay, eucalyptus, bergamot and other citrus scents for “everyday” creativity. I switch between those and savory food scents like basil, parsley, cucumber, tomato and radish. Lately, I’ve been using a ScentBall with an essential oil mix of AuraCacia‘s Creative Juice (their Website’s wrong about the “mint”: it’s just bergamot, lemon and coriander) with some eucalyptus.2

2) Hydration, Hydration, Hydration.

3) Music. Sometimes my earworms need a break. I tend to avoid lyrics when I need to write, though I do binge on Steely Dan when I’m doing data modeling, and 70s/80s Southern California rock when I’m writing pseudocode or doing logical analysis. I’ve enjoyed the heck out of some of the curated playlists at Songza. Right now, I’m listening to its “Electronic Film Scores” playlist.

4) Rage. I’m not kidding. I might explain later.

1..and a key deliverable due for my analyst gig in the same time frame, and Parts 4 and 5 of a school programming project, and the final part of a school database design project, and uhm, three exams, as well as the general and holiday-related parenting and domestic shenanigans.
2Yes, I do know exactly how goofy I sound talking about this stuff. Thanks for not asking.