I’m a Weener…

November 27, 2014

Hey, so I’m not going to write a lot today because I’m tired and you know what? I’ve already written a lot today. When I finally decided (after two years of having nothing to write about, but WANTING to write) to try NaNoWriMo this year, I thought I’d have to cut back on the blog, but I didn’t. And I finished a major quilt at the same time. And I think I averaged over 5 hours of sleep a night (this is a vast improvement over last year at this time, trust me).

So in late May, this idea for a book started poking at me…a plant/animal hybrid. And what that would look like. And what might happen to it. And being able to make your own FOOD! (which only works if you expose yourself to the sun, I realized as I was writing). And I probably was watching WAY too much X-Files, because of course the government would be involved and not in a good way (I don’t really trust government, which is funny, because technically, as a teacher, I work for the government). The idea niggled and poked and prodded, and finally, sometime in June, I started writing. I wrote about 25,000 words during the summer. I wanted to do more than that. I had a plan of 10,000 words/week, which totally didn’t happen, and once school started…well, sheeet. I barely wrote at all.

So I made a plan, a goal, to do NaNoWriMo, which if you don’t know (and can’t use The Google) stands for National Novel Writing Month, taking place in November, wherein a writer makes a goal to write 50,000 words in a month. OK. I do that, and I almost have a completed book. Sci fi books are usually between 75,000 and 100,000 words. Plus I would need to edit, right? So if I did 50,000 words, I’d be pretty damn close to a full novel. And if I failed, hell, I would still have more words than I did before.

So I set out on November 1st to do the recommended 1667 words per day that gets you to 50K on time. And most days I did that and more. Mostly at night, after dinner, before art time. I had no outline, no plan. I have a Google doc with the original 25,000 words, another one with the words I wrote for this month, and a third one with all the character’s names and details, just so I can remember them without going back through the rest of the story. And I haven’t done that: gone back through. Occasionally I skim through for a specific detail, but I haven’t read the whole thing since August. The doc is called “justwrite” and that’s what I do. I just write. I read the last few sentences from the night/day before and I pick up from there. And a few times, I was so tired that when I read the two sentences from the night before, I didn’t even remember writing them. I think I wrote them with my eyes closed. Or trolls came in and wrote them for me after they carried me off and tucked me into bed.

And it still makes sense as a story. I think. I won’t know until I finish. So yeah. But I did finish the 50,000 words tonight. On November 26. And NaNoWriMo has a little video of some of their staff cheering for you once you validate the word count. And then they cheer again. And again. And again! Because you know why? It’s pretty fucking amazing that anyone would be able to write all those words in one month, a month where they worked their butt off, and went on 5 or 6 hikes, and flew back from Houston, and sat through staff meetings and IEPs and parent-teacher meetings and hours of professional development (seriously, this month, it was fucking hours). And graded papers. And made a piece of art, not a small one or an easy one, but a significant piece of large art. And wrote her blog almost every day. And fought mood swings and cranky uteri and lived in a house with a teenager. I’ve said this before and I will say it again: No Wonder My House Is Not Clean. Do not judge me. Look at what I DID do.

And still. I wrote. I wrote my heart out. My head. My brain. Vomited all over the screen, my fingers going tippity tappity as fast as lightning. My fingers knowing how the story went before my brain ever caught up.

Dammit. I earned this.

Winner-2014-Web-Banner

Look. I can do things. I can do cool things. And yes, I do have to keep telling myself that.

Participant-2014-Web-Banner

Sure. I’m going to keep writing this story until it’s done. It deserves to get itself the fuck out of my head. And then I’ll edit it. And the next story, which is already there, lurking, giggling, wanting to be written…I’ll start it too. Oh yeah, and I totally got the T-shirt.

All the words? They need to go somewhere. They can’t stay in my head.


Hiking Morena Butte

November 26, 2014

Last Saturday (like 4 days ago), I hiked Morena Butte, which overlooks Lake Morena in San Diego County’s eastern mountains. The hike starts at the Lake Morena campground in a PCT parking lot. We hiked a bit through the campground…you can see the butte rising up in the distance.

Nov 23 14 001 small

The weather was nice, although it felt a bit too warm at times, bordering on the mid-70s (when you’re climbing, that’s warm), but mostly in the high 60s.

highres_431810777 small

Ranchers like to use their own locks…and lots of them…

Nov 23 14 004 small

We started out on mostly road…

Nov 23 14 005 small

Lake Morena is suffering from the drought and has had water drained to fill reservoirs closer to San Diego for resident use, taking the lake down to 4% of what it normally has.

Nov 23 14 008 small

The lake is actually a manmade reservoir, but local residents are not thrilled about the hit to recreation in the area. The boat ramp seems mostly stranded and most of what was lake is now dry.

Nov 23 14 009 small

Here we are further up, still with the butte in the background. Of course, I need to look that word up. BUTTE. An isolated hill with steep sides and a relatively flat top, smaller than a mesa. I wonder what measurements they are using. In this photo, we are standing on the concrete foundation of a house, of which only a chimney and steps remain.

highres_431793347 small

There weren’t many trees along the way…

Nov 23 14 011 small

But there were a few.

Nov 23 14 015 small

Some more alive than others.

Nov 23 14 018 small

This is the view as we start to climb up towards the butte, facing south, with Mexico in the far distance.

Nov 23 14 022 small

Facing north as we climb through the brush.

Nov 23 14 026 small

The clouds were beautiful. Although it was just a bit breezy at first, as the day went on, we got some significant wind up top on the butte. Hence the pretty cloud trails.

Nov 23 14 027 small

Lots of boulders and rocky terrain.

Nov 23 14 031 small

Yup. I’m hot and sweaty. Sign of a good hike. Hell, I’m always hot and sweaty. This is facing east…

highres_431811189 small

And more east…

Nov 23 14 036 small

Facing north…

Nov 23 14 037 small

Ah yes, most of the trail was marked by cairns. Or ducks. Depending on your point of view. This is definitely a cairn. Ducks point the way to the trail. Cairns are just markers. There were lots of them, except when there weren’t, which was when you really needed them. When you’re traipsing across a butte that is mostly stone, the trail gets a bit…um…unknowable.

Nov 23 14 038 small

Wish I could tell you what direction this was…

Nov 23 14 043 small

Still heading upwards…

Nov 23 14 045 small

Finally, we hit the butte. You can see it is mostly rock…

Nov 23 14 047 small

And you try to find the way where your boots will actually stick and not slip.

Nov 23 14 049 small

It is rather a large area to wander…

Nov 23 14 055 small

But quite beautiful…peaceful…

Nov 23 14 059 small

Duck? Or cairn? Hard to say.

Nov 23 14 060 small

Parts of the butte are definitely ice- and water-worn…

Nov 23 14 062 small

And the rock shapes on top are definitely signs that weather has an effect on rock.

Nov 23 14 064 small

On one of the “tops” (there are apparently three), there are these rocky people. The female is a little discombobulated, but the male is rather obvious.

Nov 23 14 066 small

Not a cairn…that is wind and water that has worn that shape in the rocks, which are all still attached to each other.

Nov 23 14 069 small

We picnicked at the top, with a view of what’s left of the lake…which used to fill in most of that brown area…

Nov 23 14 070 small

The view to the southeast, quite impressive.

Nov 23 14 073 small

You can see us all sitting out on the edge, looking east.

Nov 23 14 075 small

Then we traipsed all around, looking for a trail to one of the other peaks on the butte…

highres_431793402 small

To find this plaque on the West Peak…

Nov 23 14 076 small

This is the view from the rock with that plaque, Hauser Canyon going west.

Nov 23 14 077 small

We picked up part of the PCT going back, ending up with 9 miles logged. A stop at Descanso Junction for a late lunch was definitely worth it.

highres_431798442 small

I don’t usually have time for those stops (it ends up being the whole day), but I did because it was the first day of vacation. Good food (awesome burger and draft beer). Yeah, there’s a guy who doesn’t want people to recognize him. Hence the black mask. Whatever. Good times…I want to do this one again. The butte is really kind of a wondrous place, very moonlike, otherworldly. Vernal pools in the rainy season (we had a bit of that, because it had rained on Thursday). Gorgeous views. Definitely worth the time.


Ever-Changing Mood

November 25, 2014

I hear the wind blowing. It’s blowing quite heavily at the moment. I considered sweeping leaves up in the driveway this afternoon, because trash pickup is tomorrow and I never finished from last time (weeks ago). Ran out of room in the green recycling bin. But then I thought, what’s the point? I had seen the wind advisory. I knew I’d have a million more leaves by the morning. Better to wait and do it later this week. I don’t like to waste energy on things that need to be done more than once in a short period of time. I don’t have much time.

I don’t know how to feel about today. I don’t know how to feel about most days. Those questions “How are you?” or “How’s [insert name of current project] coming along?” or “How was the hike?”…I don’t know how to answer those. The hike was good, because I was outside and the rocks were really cool, but the last two miles kicked my mental butt, and yet I kept moving, but I’m debating that 14-miler I signed up for, because I’m not sure I can hike that far. Is that what you wanted to hear? Or did you just want to hear “Fine. It was fine.” I can’t answer the “How are you?” at all. I don’t have the words. I could draw it, but we’d be here for a while and you’d be frustrated by my answer. The projects? They’re moving along. There’s nothing I really want to talk about in depth about any of them at the moment. I’m just progressing, moving forward, continuing the process. I don’t know.

NaNoWriMo, for example: I totally forgot to write yesterday. I wrote for a short period while waiting for something, I don’t even remember when, but I only did like 400 words. I’ve haven’t done that few words a day all month. But I was busy yesterday and I got into art-brain mode and I just plain forgot. So this morning, I wrote 2500+ to make up for it. I have a little over 4000 words to go to hit 50,000. And I figured out how to kill off one of the characters. While I was watching David Attenborough’s show Life in the Undergrowth (fascinating, by the way, and kinda creepy), he talked about how ants use formic acid to attack plants and predators, and I had a lightning bolt hit my brain. It’s gonna be SO COOL. OK. I know. This book, it’s just plain weird how it’s inhabited this part of my brain. It’s writing itself. It really is. By Thursday, I will have hit 50,000 words this month, which I think means the book will be at 75,000 words. And I’m in the rising climax part of the book or whatever it is when all the good stuff happens that makes your heart race. I know the book itself won’t be done on Thursday. My goal is the end of the year. Then edit its ass. Then start the next one by next November.

Meanwhile, a car had a brake issue, so it went to the mechanic, my body went to the doctor and we tried to diagnose all my frailties (elbow brace, toenail collection, weird exercises with soup cans and hammers, more blood, changing meds. Holy moly.). I picked up my quilt and the photos. Warned him there was another one coming in December. Heard the story of his dog and cats.

The hardest part…parts…it’s been parts…about this vacation have been my mood swings (down, down, down) and the girlchild’s moods. So moods. The theme for Thanksgiving this year is MOODS. And none of them particularly good. I say everything wrong. I do everything wrong. I get irritated by having to stand in line at the post office to sign for a shirt she ordered (my name on the package, so I have to sign for it, plus she’s not 18), and then she’s out to lunch and at a friend’s for hours, so she doesn’t clean, and because we’re down to one car, she’s texting me to hurry up while I’m in Target trying to do all my errands in one place (I failed at that, by the way). Big Fucking Sigh. This is not fun. I have been on the verge of tears (or just outright crying, let’s be honest) more times in the last few days than in the last month. OK. That might be a lie. It’s been an emotional month. Blame hormones. Blame my thyroid. Blame the fucking moon. I mean, how could they ever have looked at the moon and NOT seen that it was a sphere? I just don’t understand. It so obviously has the sun reflecting off of it in crescent stage. It’s such a beautifully awesome thing. And yet it’s obviously fucking with me.

See. This is how my mind works. It’s on a crazy train.

I guess the good thing is that I worked. I finished tracing all the Wonder Under, despite almost needing to walk out of the living room twice due to girlchild’s intolerance for ANYTHING or ANYONE. (I do live here. I do. I have rights. Inalienable rights.)

Nov 24 14 004 small

It took almost 10 hours to trace this beast. Only 768 pieces, so you know the pile of men really did slow me down. It should have been 8 hours. Julie says I should copy the pile and color code the bodies. She may be right, but I feel like it’s time I don’t have. On the other hand, then I’ll waste the time trying to figure out what piece goes with what body. GAARHHH. Cannot Decide.

I also traced two more birds that were on order…

Nov 24 14 007 small

I’m hoping to finish them by the end of the year as well. By the way, there are three birds that have not sold. I should put them in their own post. I’ll try to do that tomorrow.

And then I sat down and started cutting Wonder Under out.

Nov 24 14 008 small

I only did it for an hour, because it was getting late. And some of it is releasing from the paper, which is always annoying. And I need to buy background fabric or decide if what I have in house will work, because inevitably, I will be ready to iron on Thursday and nothing will be open. Must Plan Ahead. And I have to clean house and straighten up my studio so I can tear it apart again, and now I have a window screen AND a screen door with issues, and for every one thing I solve or resolve, two more pop up in its place.

And dammit. I’m still depressed. That’s the only thing to call this blob in my head that keeps raining on my parade. That keeps dragging me into the mud. That keeps eating at my peace of mind. That won’t shut the fuck up and leave me alone.

Knowing that this is not how you want to be? It doesn’t really help make it stop. This war quilt I’m doing, women at war: it’s women at war with their own bodies, with failing uteri and thyroid glands, with fluctuating hormones and clogged ducts and irritated tendons and pus-filled pores; at war with their children and their parents, with people trying to push them into holes, into slots, into places they think you should fit, telling you what to do, how you’re doing it wrong, constantly getting at you; at war with men, the misguided, the nice-guy misogynists (so many of those), the crazies, the assholes, the arrogant, the self-centered, the clueless; at war with society, which is trying to control my parts, my mind, my place in the world. Nature vs nurture. There’s outliers and I guess I’m way the fuck out there. Like in outer space outlier. I’ve never wanted to be easily categorized or explained, but that makes it harder…to just be, honestly. Sometimes it just makes it harder to exist. I’m here because I want to be. I’m here because that’s where I belong. I never meant to be here by myself though. And it’s hard. It’s hard to deal with the girlchild’s drama without any support. I often just want to crawl into bed and never ever come out. Just put the pillow over my head and ignore all of it. Never fucking come out.

I don’t know how many times I have to scream “This is not where I want to be!” before someone hears me.

That’s why I keep these guys around, the furry ones, even though all they did today was sleep, bat at me with claws out, and vomit. I swear I cleaned up more vomit today than I did anything else. It’s just not right.

So this looks like a picture of the girlchild messing with her hair, but look closely.

Nov 24 14 001 small

What is that in the back, in the corner of the couch?

Nov 24 14 002 small

I do not know how to explain the dog.

Then this evening, the scary bitchy cat ventured out again, and this is the closest I’ve ever seen her to any living thing that was not human without her trying to kill it.

Nov 24 14 005 small

It’s not even that cold tonight.

But I had both of them for a while…

Nov 24 14 011 small

It’s hard to cut out Wonder Under with her on your lap, but again…she’s old and I feel sorry for her, so I tolerate a lot. Besides, she didn’t vomit today, so she’s on my good side.

Tomorrow I finish cutting out Wonder Under and hopefully start ironing to fabric. Dammit. That means I need a background. Aargh.

And the song the post title comes from…one of my favorite bands…

The Style Council. Weird-ass video. Great song.


Vacation…More Time to Work

November 23, 2014

So. I’m officially on vacation. I traced Wonder Under Friday night for a little while, but I was exhausted and went to bed early, because I had a long hike early Saturday morning. I get up earlier for hikes than I do for school. It’s a little crazy. But it was a good hike (post later) and we went out to eat afterwards, which I almost never do, because you lose the whole day. But I could afford to lose the whole day because I have a whole week of them off. Anyway. It was good. And I came home and tried to function, but the body and brain were old and tired. Eventually, after the second or third cup of tea and some reading of the book club selection that I had to be done with by today (there’s nothing like leaving it until the last minute), I got up and started tracing Wonder Under again…

Nov 23 14 087 small

The fun part (wait, put “fun” in quotes) about tracing this section is that it’s a pile of bodies that are all overlapping, and although I might have tried to be logical about numbering them in the first place, that logic has now left the building, and I am often staring at the pile, trying to find the next piece in number order. Piece 225 took like 10 minutes to find. I don’t know what I was thinking. So the almost-200 pieces in the pile took forever to trace. But I wasn’t going to give up. I wanted it done, so that when I came back to tracing today, it would be straightforward and relatively easy. Nov 23 14 091 small

The thing is, that pile is gonna kick my ass when I have to pick fabrics out, because overlapping and random behind spaces and I don’t even know what parts go with what body in half of it. Yeah. Way to fuck with yourself, Kathryn. I guess I like a good challenge.

So I’m 4 hours into the tracing and only at piece 287 or so. Like I said, it was a bitch. I have about 5 hours left, I’m guessing, and I’d like to be done today. No really. I would. That might not be realistic though because I still have to go grocery shopping and to book club and to dinner at my parents’ house. Hmn. Are there 5 hours LEFT after all that? So much for vacations, right? That’s why you’re supposed to GO somewhere, so you can relax and stop doing all that other stuff. Then again, I don’t really do anything else right…why start with doing vacations right? It’s a stay-at-home vacation because I can’t afford anything else. I would have loved to have taken the girlchild to NYC, met the boychild there, hung out, got an AirBnB apartment, checked out the city. It would have been cool. It would have been $1500 I don’t have right now. Especially with college apps coming up again.

So we’re here in lovely San Diego, soccer tournament, practices, a couple of hikes, dinner with the close family on Tday. And lots of artmaking. So my plan is to have all the Wonder Under ironed to fabric in a week. Because then school starts back up again and that 3-week stretch notoriously kicks my butt. And then I have vacation again, but only about a week and a half before this next quilt has to be done. So yeah. I need to work hard. Like usual. Like what the fuck is new about that? This is my life. It’s a continuous hard-work endeavor. I’m not always entirely sure what I get out of that. People tell me the art is cool, amazing, etc., but then I just make more of it. I don’t know if there’s a reason for it, except that I’m incredibly unhappy when I don’t make it. And there’s enough of that feeling in my life…I don’t need to make more of it. There must be a better balance though.

I did take time out to finish the book for book club. It must have been cold last night because (1) I was wearing polar fleece in the house (lots of windows behind the light table) and (2) the bitchy old-lady cat was in the living room, curled up tight next to me.

Nov 23 14 089 small

Which was fine. Notice the pile of dirty clothes on the floor? Girlchild has some cleaning to do. I’m tired of the slob factor. That’s one goal for this vacation…get the mess under control, at least enough to get me through December.

I wanted to show you where I normally write…

Nov 23 14 090 small

Yup. The computer. The computer desk is a mess. The chair has been scratched all to hell by bitchy cat, who often is sitting on the chair (you can see the top of her head in the picture). Right now, she’s not, but that’s because morning winter sun is over THERE on the table, so she’s curled up over there. Thank god. I can actually sit properly. I’m over 42,000 words on the novel, and I will easily hit 50,000 by Thanksgiving. I’m hoping to keep the momentum going and get to the end, whatever that is, by the end of the year or earlier. I’ve already decided no sequel. So I’m writing it that way. I guess I always knew I would. I do have another book started in my head though. Different story, different characters, different location. Still sci-fi though. Not sure what’s up with that.

Here’s Luana Rubin’s review of the two SAQA exhibits at Houston this year…she mentions my piece.

Someday I’ll meet her in person and tell her how to pronounce my name. Or maybe you could do that for me.


Some Kind of Crazy

November 21, 2014

Some kind of crazy happened yesterday. I mean, there’s the regular crazy of my job, but then I came home right after work and sat down with a cup of tea and finished the drawing (it took 13 minutes to finish it, by the way, but probably 6 hours to decide how to finish it in 13 minutes). My car tire was having inflation issues again, so I knew I needed to get it some air, but I went to the copy place first and enlarged the drawing, then filled the car with air and gas, then went home and started taping the drawing together. I realized it needed more space below as well as above (I knew about above…there were some leaf-fitting issues…nothing major), so I taped more paper above and below. Girlchild came home and left with the dog. I seriously only see her (girlchild) for like 10-minute sessions, and then she’s gone again. Or I’m gone. Or we’re both gone. And I sort of realized that if I was going to get to quilt class on time, I wasn’t going to be able to finish drawing at the house. So I packed up all the stuff to trace Wonder Under, and I even dropped off my library book on the way there, and I got there and drew the bottom, which I didn’t even know was going to happen until it happened. This is how life is when you let the creative brain have free rein (or is that reign? I could argue both at the moment)…it just does stuff and doesn’t tell you about it. Wow. Just like my relationships. Ha!

Anyway. On track, Kathryn. So then I started numbering, and because of the bizarre penis pileup I have going on in the bottom, it took for-freakin-ever to number that section…

Nov 21 14 003 small

(OK, it’s just a pile of men, not penises) I was trying to be logical about it, but it turns out, you can’t be particularly logical about chaos. I had about 280 pieces numbered when I finished the pile, so I asked the other quilters at my meeting to hazard a guess as to my total pieces. Susan came in at 1500, Jean at 957, Mary at 1267, and Barbara at 850 (mostly because I kept saying it better NOT be over a thousand, but by then, she could see I was up to 400 and something and she was estimating beyond that. So maybe she had insider information by sitting next to me).

So I ended up getting to 749 (oh thank god…I might actually be able to finish it in time)…

Nov 21 14 004 small

But then when I got home (because it took me two hours to finish drawing and then number the piece, speaking of not being particularly efficient), I realized I hadn’t numbered the bullet thingie on her chest, which surely has a real name. Let me ask The Google. Holy crap! It IS a bandolier. I thought it was, and then I thought NOOO. That’s like something fancier than that, like something you wear when you dance or something. Yeah. Anyway. I numbered that and got to 768. Totally doable (crazy ass bitch. Are you NUTS?).

Meanwhile, I did write once I got back. I really wanted to start tracing Wonder Under, but I’m being really good about writing every day, so I did that first. I’m over 38,000 words. I will finish Thanksgiving Day (with the 50,000…probably not with the book) at this rate, which is kinda cool. It’s nice to know I can do it if I have to. I got stymied by some DNA testing terminology, so I just flagged it for future research. Googling stuff like “What’s that thing called when the DNA gets spread out and makes pretty pictures” is not particularly useful when you’re already tired. And it’s not worth spending hours trying to figure out right now.

Then finally…finally I was allowed to go back to the drawing…

Nov 21 14 001 small

Which turned out being bigger than I had planned…as usual. But I think it’ll be OK. It’s longer, but not wider, and wide is the issue in a small gallery. It’s 27″ wide by 45″ high, which is smaller than anything I’ve done for a while. Which is good. Because I only have 6 weeks. I think. Don’t think about it.

Those flying hearts showed up again…

Nov 21 14 005 small

I like them. At the moment. Don’t know why. A metaphor for where I’m at? Who knows. And DNA hand is back.

Nov 21 14 006 small

I didn’t trace a lot or for super long, because it was getting late, but I’m starting! So I think I’m ahead of where I planned to be. Or maybe I’m right where I planned to be. Hard to say.


Planning To Be Not Sick…

November 20, 2014

So the girlchild is sick. It’s two days until a week-long vacation, and I am surrounded by coughy, sneezy, leaves-her-used-tissues all over the house, which the dog then tries to eat, so I have to touch all of them to either throw them away or get them out of the dog’s mouth. And THEN. Then she drinks out of the milk jug, straight out of it, right in front of me, like she doesn’t even care that she’s bombarding ME with all those germs on levels that I don’t even need to consider. Her response? “Um. Sorry? We live together anyway.” She’s like the worst roommate ever. I come home and she’s already left for soccer, and all the clothes she’s worn are all over the floor, and when I come back from the gym, I find her smelly soccer socks, shoes, and shinguards sitting on the couch where I would like to sit and draw, and it reeks.

Bad roommate. Except she’s my blood. I did give her some grief yesterday when she finally came home, but she’s SIIICKKK. Sigh. I guess my plan for break is to be sick as well (pounding vitamins, washing hands as I speak). I don’t have time to be sick. I have two hikes to go on, 13,000 words to write, a quilt to get significantly started. I can’t be sick.

So there’s the drawing. I came home after delivering my quilt to the photographer and I was exhausted. So I tried to read, but fell asleep on the couch (probably I’m getting sick) and woke up to a cat lying on me. It’s a risk in this house. Happens all the time. I only had like 30 pages of my book left, so I finished it (It was good by the way…the last in Lev Grossman’s Magicians series). Then I started trying to draw, and here’s why I don’t keep track of time on the drawings. When it’s not going well, when I’m having a hard time getting it out of my head or solidifying it in there, I just stare at things…mostly at the paper, but also at the TV (Blacklist, James Spader is truly evil in this show, and yet not), or a cat. Or the white wall, annoyed by the fact that I haven’t finished doing things in here, like hanging art. So I did a lot of that. I have “four hours” into the drawing, but I’d bet that only half of that was actual pen or pencil moving on paper. And if you’re going to count the staring-at-the-paper minutes, you should also count the minutes when I’m thinking about the drawing when I don’t have a sketchbook in my lap, and that’s quite a few more hours. So yeah. Pointless measurement there. No real start and stop. Fluid.

But after I made dinner and girlchild finally showed up to eat (and sneeze and cough and moan and leave used Kleenex everywhere), I went and wrote some more story (she’s kidnapped! It happened early! I said 5 PM and then I kidnapped her early! Don’t ask. My brain does what it pleases.), and when I came back to the couch, the snotty thing had gone to bed (without even saying good night) and I was able to do a significant piece of the drawing. Because before that? I was just staring at the paper for a long time.

It is unfortunately not done. That said, I think it COULD be done with about 20 more minutes. I don’t HAVE 20 minutes before school though. And I was going to go copy it after school. SO. I could take it to school and instead of doing grades during prep, I could finish it. And then copy it after school. But I don’t like taking my sketchbook (the big one) to school. It’s just…it’s got stuff in it that the students would be shocked by, and it’s big and hard to hide, unlike the one in my bag. SO. I could just ditch out of school as soon as the bell rings, come home and finish it, and then go copy it. Probably means I’ll be putting it together at class, but I think I can do that. OR. I could stop writing this and go finish it, except mornings are not good drawing times for me. I don’t know why. My brain is primed for late night. Right now, I’m still trying to wake up. Apparently I can write half asleep but I can’t draw. Two different parts of the brain. The rambling wordy bit can vomit shit up all the time. The drawing part needs more caffeine. And wake time.

But this is where I’m at…

Nov 20 14 001 small

Like I said, not much left. Trying to keep it simple so I can actually finish it in time. Yes, the DNA hand showed up again. So did the tree. I really like the pile of people, of MEN. Yup. Standing on Da Boyz. And there’s pencil between her legs because I’m not sure about that part, but it’s there to remind me to think about it. So I guess I really need to wait until the end of the day. Yup. Plus I’m going to have to add to the top and sides a bit so I can put more leaves in. But not much.

Another thing I’m doing, which I had heard about back in September or October, is Coursera. If you haven’t heard of it, they are college classes you can take for free (no credit) or for credit (pay!) that are offered on a wide variety of subjects and from a huge number of participants. A friend (Linda!) emailed me about one she thought I would like about how plants use their “senses.” It sounded interesting, so I signed up for this class taught by a professor at Tel Aviv University, and I’m about three weeks behind starting, but since I’m not taking it for credit (unlike some of the kids in there), I don’t care. I also don’t care that I’m not acing the quizzes, because I’m listening to his lectures while I’m writing the book. And when he says something really interesting or confusing, I flip to the tab running the video and I rewatch that section, and sometimes I take notes (right now, my post-it says “auxin” and “Barbara McClintock”), but mostly I’m just listening for stuff that I could use in the book or that might make some things make more sense. I’m still boggled by this article about plants that can “hear” caterpillars eating them and respond chemically. They recorded the sounds and played them near another plant and it responded in kind. This is awesome science, and helped me write the section where the plant talks to the main character. Yeah, my science is a little out there, but I don’t think it’s as out there as I originally thought.

Anyway. It’s interesting enough and I’ve done two weeks of work in two nights (well, I didn’t do it WELL. I got a D on the quiz, but whatevs. I’m not taking it for reals.).

So. Progress on all levels. And two more days of school to survive. If you’ve never been in a middle school the week before an upcoming vacation, even if it’s only a week off that’s coming up, it’s like there’s a full moon. They wig out all over the place and do amazingly stupid things, because they think it’s not going to follow them after break. Which is only a week long. I’m with them, though. I want to be on vacation too. I just don’t want to be SICK on vacation. Grr. More vitamins. More handwashing.


Yes. It DOES Sound Crazy.

November 19, 2014

Well, one thing I’ve got going for me right now is that there is no shortage of projects I’m supposed to be working on. In fact, there are four due within the next 2 1/2 months. Luckily, three of them are tiny, compared to what I normally do, and even the larger one can’t be TOO large. And it’s been in my head for a couple of months, so I actually think I can get it out fairly quickly. I did know that I would have to fit it all on one page. I don’t know if you’ve noticed lately, but it’s been hard for me to fit anything on a single page. Even those drawings that are mostly on one page seem to need something added once I enlarge it…which isn’t a problem. But when I know I need to make what is for me a smaller piece because the show has a lot of people and the gallery isn’t very big, it means I have to THINK about size. I don’t usually think about size.

So before I could even deal with the drawing last night, though, I had to get my hair cut, mostly because I couldn’t get a comb through the ends. I wanted to do it in October, but financially, October was a major issue. Timewise as well, so I finally got there yesterday. It’s silly, because I guess I could have chopped it all off myself, but Rebecca does a much better job (duh. She is trained.). I have learned over the years that there are I things I CAN do (like my own quilt photography), but it’s stupid when others can do it better and I can pay them a reasonable amount to do so. My photographer also…I gladly let him do what he’s good at, so I can do more of the stuff that I’m good at. And it’s remarkably silly how nice a good haircut feels. I don’t get a lot of the good feels.

By the time I finally got home (had to pick up ex-husband because his car is in the shop again), I was tired, but I forced myself to the gym. I wrote the novel on the bike; got about 450 words written in 25 minutes (so that’s 18 words a minute), which means I’ve spent over 55 hours writing this book so far. No wonder I don’t sleep. That’s not 55 hours this month…I started in June, but it is 30 hours so far this month, which is about an hour and 3/4 each day. Wow. Really? Someone check my math. I’m not meditating at the moment by the way. I often write, though, while I’m doing something else. But still, wow. I work full time as a teacher, I exercise, I cook real food, I apparently sleep, and I write almost 2 hours a day. Plus art.

So after all that and eating dinner, I wrote…see above…over 34,000 words and a step closer to the violence. It’s 1:15 PM in the afternoon of the day when all the shit hits the fan. Some shit just hit, but we don’t really know what it means yet, and when I say “we,” yes, I’m including me, because my brain hasn’t written that part yet. It will tonight. Seriously. I rarely know where I’m going with this story until I get there. I’m hoping it all holds together, but I realized last night that I had one character bifurcating in the story (no, she really can’t be in two places at once…it’s sci fi, but not THAT sci fi.), so I’m sure editing will need to tighten up some details.

Then I ironed the new quilt for the photographer and dehaired it and prepped it…

Nov 19 14 002 small

I have to cover it so it doesn’t get more cat hair, but also because my car has dog hair in it from Calli riding in there, so I usually make a plastic bag covering. Yes, some people buy bags especially for this, but I’m not like that. Plus I spent all my money on my haircut (not really…but teenagers are really expensive). This morning I decided to roll it with the front out, because I know it will sit in the car all day, and I don’t want it to get wrinkled. I’ll drive it to him after school, he’ll take great pictures and charge me not very much at all, and I’ll happily go back and get it when he’s done. It’s like magic!

Nov 19 14 003 small

And then I’ll spend the next two weeks trying to come up with a name for it, because it needs a fucking name and the one I came up with yesterday really does reference the Adam and Eve thing, and I don’t actually want to reference that…because that’s not what it’s about. It’s interesting that there is a reference to that story, but it’s not about that story.

And then at maybe 11:30 PM, I finally sat down in the living room (it took 10 minutes to find my sketchbook, which in itself is sad) and started drawing. I have to admit that I was tired at that point, and I kept trying to Google images that would help my brain, like “woman standing with gun belt” and “arms akimbo.” Seriously. That was a thing. I finally gave up (my internet was cranky) and just started drawing.

Nov 19 14 001 small

I have to admit that I did a rough pencil sketch first of where things needed to go because they needed to fit on the page, and that’s one of my issues: fitting things on the page. And I’m not sure about either hand. But I can always redo those parts. And no, I didn’t get very far. I was tired. I actually went to bed at a reasonable hour. No, not really. But reasonable for me.

Oh yeah, and the total for the Quilt That Has No Name Yet was 101 hours and 33 minutes (yikes!). Not a small or easy beast, but a nice beast nonetheless.

Tonight? Finish the drawing, rush over to Fed Ex before they close so I can enlarge it, and come back number it, so I can start tracing at class tomorrow. Yes. It DOES sound crazy. Why do you ask?


Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 331 other followers