Thursday, December 29, 2011


Hmmm... aren't resolutions just wonderful? They're the pinnacle of the race, the epitome of potential, and it's all down-hill from here. The New Year is fast approaching, and I'm pondering resolutions and why we make them... or why we love to break them. Because most resolutions will never be kept. It's part of our human nature, I guess. We love to dream big, to have hope for a bright future full of all the things we wish we could do with our lives, and we love to believe we will accomplish all our goals! And let's face it... if you make a list of resolutions this New Year's Eve and you manage to keep all of them, did you really dream big enough?

Here's the thing, somehow, this past year, I did manage to keep all my resolutions. Ha! I only made three... and there's something satisfying and yet so small about that. While I know I learned something and grew from the process, I can't help but wonder what else I could have done if I had just decided that I wanted to reach for a higher goal?

This year I want to dream big and fail big. It's no fun, really, failing... but the journey counts more than the destination, right? So I'm going to make some wacky big resolutions and then take the leap! Won't you join me?

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Anime and writing

I seriously cannot
get enough Who!
I've been considering story structure and character development for the past few weeks now... partially in a poorly disguised attempt to avoid editing my NaNovel. Sigh... anyhow, I am currently reading "The Plot Whisperer" by Martha Alderson... the book that Awesome Bess gave me for "winning" a blog contest that she hosted. It's a great book! I love Alderson's thoughts on the Universal Story, and on character development being personal as well as fictional... the character on the page can and will reveal a lot about your own strengths and weaknesses. Reading about that, though, I realize that I have a lot of work to do to get this story to a happy place. But the Plot Whisperer is helping me to be less afraid of the work that needs to be done, so I guess that's something.

Belle  and Sebastian (circa 1981)
In a slightly related way, I've been considering the plot and characters in the anime series "Princess Tutu". I stumbled upon this little gem when I started working on my quilt the other week. I needed something to distract me from the drone of the sewing machine, so first I watched Season 2 of Doctor Who (just after the Doctor regenerates from Christopher Eccleston to David Tennant... Oh man I love Doctor Who!)... and then, just as I was getting ready to begin Season 3, Princess Tutu caught my eye. I've always loved anime, everything I've seen, at least. That's not much, when you think about it... but Belle and Sebastian is what started it all. I recently watched (and read) Howl's Moving Castle, as well, and really enjoyed that fanciful story.

Princess Tutu
Princess Tutu is whimsical, rollicking, a bit overly-dramatic (but hey, it's anime) and has the added benefit (for me) of an exterior narrator or two and plot sketches between episodes. I liked the structure and the themes, mostly... I was a little at a loss as to why some of the whimsy existed... I mean, I know, by nature whimsy is not supposed to have a reason, but... this was a little overboard... but, nevertheless, I could not stop watching! It was captivating (again, for me... Noah thought I was crazy). The ending kind of threw me a little, so if any of you out there have seen it and can offer me some insight, I would be grateful!

Howl's Moving Castle
Still, it gave me lots to think about with regard to my characters and their growth into full fledged characters... ones that people will connect with and root for... or despise... I want my characters to incite emotion, but right now I think that they are dull, lifeless... I have a rewrite to do... and I have to stop putting it off!

My mother will be here for a few days starting Friday... but the new goal is to, as soon as she leaves, really dive into the process of transforming the copy that I have into the story that I want to tell.

Thursday, December 15, 2011


Well, stuck can be a good thing, too, I guess. I finished my NaNo goals and then took a good long break... but now I'm afraid to get back to working on the project. I know I need to, I know I can do it...

but I had found something else to distract me. A quilt. I am in the process of making my first quilt! It's really cool... I'm using a pattern and have been sewing madly for days now. It's been fun and I'm coming up with ideas for new quilt patterns... and I'm hoping that my mom will help me finish this quilt off when she comes to visit next week for Christmas.

But then my sewing machine stopped working today. It's stuck. I've taken off the cover and oiled as many parts as I can reach, and it's still stuck... I'm 4 strips away from being finished with the quilt! Sigh. Hopefully Noah can help me when he gets home, but I was really hoping to wrap that up today!

The thing is, having a stuck sewing machine may force me to get down to editing. I need that push back towards my novel, so that I can refine it... make it into something worth showing to someone else.

Monday, December 5, 2011

50,000 words does not a novel make

So, it's December 5th... I haven't posted in over a week. To be honest, I think I just needed a break from forcing words out of my fingertips and into being. And so I took it. I wish I could tell you that during the last week I read more books and began creative projects... but really I spent most of my time staring out into cyberspace, trying to make sense of the whole last month by reading what others are saying about their experience of NaNoWriMo.

And so now I'm here, a few days into December... and what do I have to show for it? I have more than 200 pages of text and a strong idea... but it's not a manuscript yet. I know what needs to come next. I know I need to sit down with Scrivener and put these scenes into some kind of logical order... and then I know I need to go through the draft with a discerning eye, re-writing portions, cutting portions, adding transitions and/or filler...

I think I'm just still in shock that I actually got this far with it. Ha. That the baby idea I had... years... ago now has become something much bigger than I expected.

Truth is I love the editing process. I just need to gather my wits about me and dive in! And so that's what this next month will be about. I have many fun things to do on the weekends and my mother is coming up for the holiday at the end of the month, but in between then I promise you that I'm going to knuckle down and make something out of this jumbled heap of ideas. As Erin Morgenstern, NaNo participant and author of The Night Circus put it "There's a spinning-straw-into-gold analogy here, in which NaNoWriMo is about filling the room with straw. The spinning would be revising. Had I more time to compose this, I would work that analogy in better, but the I think clumsiness illustrates my point." (from The Marvels and Messes of a Month of Writing).

I'm off to yoga now for some wit gathering... and then I'll be here... spinning my straw into gold.

Friday, November 25, 2011

NaNo day 25... I DID IT!

As you can see by the badge posted to the right and by the certificate in this post, I successfully completed the 50,000 word challenge for NaNo today! Yay me! Now comes the hard part, though... I need to finish this thing up and get it edited. Eek! I'm pretty excited :). It's something to be proud of, and a creative story line. I hope to be able to share it with you soon!

Now I'm going to go relax for a bit and decorate my house for the holidays.


Thursday, November 24, 2011

NaNo Day #24... Happy Thanksgiving everyone :)

It's Thanksgiving Day, 24 November. I'm sitting pretty at 46,726 words on my novel. Yep folks. Today's benchmark is 40,000 and I'm well ahead. I have 3,274 words left to write to reach the 50,000 word mark and "win" NaNo. That doesn't mean too much in the grand scheme of things... and yet, it DOES because I have a novel written! Or I will have in just a couple more days... I mean, even 50,000 words does not make a novel... I will likely write more and cut more and edit plenty before it's in any sort of drafty stage to send to a publishing agency... but that's the goal... after reaching 50,000... dress it up and send it out to party :)

I'm pretty excited. At one point I wasn't even sure I could stretch it this far. Yay!

I've really enjoyed this process. I think I have found my stride, which is a good thing to feel. I discovered "Write or Die" which will help me with writing daily in the future (manageable bites are key). I've also learned the need for balance. I've spent the last month jamming on the creativity frequency. I need to have input, too, though... as well as output. I'm looking forward to getting back to reading more regularly and not feeling this crazed pressure for a while. At least until I come up with another grand idea... or until next year's NaNo :)

So... in other news, I volunteer at Blackbird Yoga now, down the street from my house. It's a nice way to get out a couple times a week and I get free yoga for helping out over there. Pretty cool! I try to walk there at least once a week (and drive the other day I go)... mostly for the getting outside. Our street is not the safest to walk down. People like to go careening down the hill and slam into the speed bump in front of our house (that includes snow plows in the middle of the night... right outside my bedroom window... good times...). I don't let Tag in our yard without his 30 foot lead on for that reason. I can't bear the thought of him getting hit. That said, I don't see to many animals (other than squirrels and chipmunks) that get hit on our road. And we have plenty of critters... heron, beaver, muskrat, deer, raccoon, and then I found this guy on the side of the road, a clear hit and run... who knew we had bobcats too? Sad that I had to discover it this way...

Monday, November 21, 2011

NaNo day 21 - Moving along

It's day 21. I made excellent headway at the end of last week and wrote the usual quota of words on Saturday, too, so only writing 600 yesterday didn't really hurt me. I didn't get ahead that much, though, by only writing 600 words. So today's goal is to write to 40,000 words (a little over a 2,500 word count for the day). It's completely do-able since I wrote 5,000 the other day... in 2 and a half hours... This new app is fantastic for making my writing time manageable and productive. I love it.

This image is taken from

In other news, the recent events at UC Davis have shocked and saddened me more than I can say. Especially when you expect that the police should be there to protect people and uphold their rights... which I do. Maybe everyone does not expect that. I know there is a lot of contention surrounding the purpose of the protesting going on across the country at this time... nevertheless, people have the right to make their thoughts and concerns known through peaceful assembly... and this kind of display of force in direct opposition to those rights chills me.

I never really considered my position of non-violence until now. I think I always assumed that I knew my own mind. And I have a hard time wrapping my brain around exactly how my ideals, my beliefs would work in an ideal world, especially given that this world is less than ideal... but I'm going to put it out there... to wish... to imagine what my world would be like... so bear with me, and converse with me. I hope you will...

In my perfect world, the police would use force only when absolutely necessary... because their lives or the lives of others are in imminent danger.

In my perfect world, people would have safe, open forums to talk about their wants and needs, their hopes and dreams, and to find support and fulfillment from others who have and are willing to share.

In my perfect world, disagreeing with someone would not be a cause for hate or war or violence, but a time for learning, if nothing else, how to respect a different viewpoint and allow that person to be and believe differently from you.

In my perfect world...

There are so many other ways to end that thought that I think I'm going to have to start a series, just to tease this idea out, to dream

I hope that you will play along with me. What do things look like in YOUR perfect world?
I reserve the right to delete any comments that are combative or out of sync with the spirit of this "perfect world".

Friday, November 18, 2011

NaNo day 18... 35,000 by the end of the day **UPDATED**

I'm gonna get there :) Ambitious goal for the day, but I'm already over 31,000, so I think I can do it.

In the meantime, listen to this song... theme song for the novel... (lyrics below)

**UPDATED** just in case you wondered... I hit 35,095 today... and created a new character. She adds so much depth to the story! And she's just a minor thing...

Swim Until You Can't See Land - by Frightened Rabbit

We salute at the threshold of the North Sea
in my mind
And a nod to the boredom that drove me here
to face the tide and swim
(Whoaaaa) I swim (Whoaaa) oh swim (Whoaaa)

Dip the toe in the ocean. Oh how it hardens and it numbs.
And the rest of me is a version of man
built to collapse into crumbs
And if I hadn’t come down
To the coast to disappear
I may have died in a land-slide
Of the rocks, the hopes and fears.

So swim until you can’t see land.
Swim until you can’t see land.
Swim until you can’t see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?
Swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?

Up to my knees now, do I wait? Do I dive?
The sea has seen my like before though it’s my first
And perhaps last time.
Let’s call me a baptist, call this the drowning of the past
She’s there on the shoreline
Throwing stones at my back

So swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?
Swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?

Now the water’s taller than me
And the land is a marker line
All I am is a body adrift in water, salt and sky

So swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?
Swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Swim until you can’t see land
Are you a man or are you a bag of sand?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

It's the 16th and I'm at 28,389 words written

I just found this fantastic app on-line called Write or Die by Dr. Wicked. It is a customizable app that lets you pick a word count, a time limit, and consequences for missing your goals and then encourages you to type like the wind and meet those goals. I wrote 4500 words today! First in 500 words in 15 minute chunks, and then 800 words in 20 minutes... I surpassed even my own expectations and now I'm a day ahead of the word count. The scenes are all out of sync and there are still large holes in the plot, but everything fits together pretty well and, thanks to another fun piece of software called Scrivener (please refrain from the Melville references here), rearranging scenes and getting things to flow more naturally will be much easier when editing time comes.

I'm super excited and hoping to get even MORE ahead tomorrow.

How are the rest of you doing?

picture from

Monday, November 14, 2011

NaNo Day 13 was yesterday... 21,670

"Gus shook his head, like a man waking up from a dream, and headed toward the light, full of joy at discovering that the world was such a wide place and he got to share in it."

Thursday, November 10, 2011

NaNo day 10... **UPDATED**

*Updated at the end*

I'm posting this early... by this evening I will have reached 16,666+ words. I will! I only have 266 words left to write today to get there... and that's after having already written 2,374 words to get to this point. I'm impressed with myself at least, even if no one else really cares :)

Yay NaNo and Yay motivation!
image borrowed from
I am up to 16,731 words :) And it feels good baby ;)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Nano Day 8... and... Hey, Blogger Friends!

I know I know, we're on day 9 now, but I tried to post this last night and the photos wouldn't load... so... I'm posting it now. And I'm not revising it. You'll just have to deal with it.

So it's day 8. Yep that's right... only 8 days in. :) 22 more to go! By this point in the process, if you are keeping a steady pace, you should have 13,333 words written for NaNoWriMo. And I DOOooo! I have 13,370 to be precise. I'm keeping pretty close to the daily amount of 1,667... not over taxing myself, making sure to rest. Well, except for yesterday. Yesterday I wrote 2,800+ words in a crazed effort to catch up from Sunday. "What happened Sunday?" you ask?

Well, I went to the City. What's that? Oh, what did I do there? I saw Quidditch practice taking place while walking through Central Park, for one thing.

No really.

See??? Brooms and hoops and everything!!!
 Then I went to the New York City Marathon with none other than the FABULOUS Julie Maughon, over at rosewood pencil box. She was in town because her husband is a super marathon runner and was competing in the race. We got a good spot by the route around mile 24 and waited for Josh to run by.

If all these runners look like they are in extreme pain, that's because they have already run 24 MILES and still have 2 left to finish. We never did see Josh, although apparently he passed right by us. At a few instances large packs of people walked/ran past us and we can only assume he was lost in the mix.

Yay Josh for finishing a marathon!

Here's Julie at Bethesda Fountain in Central Park
 After the marathon, we met BESS from It's the world, dear. Did you expect it to be small? (Ha ha... is that really the title of your blog Bess? Or is it just Either way, it was great meeting Bess. And kind of fortuitous, actually. Julie and I had both won a contest on her blog recently, so Bess brought us our prizes (copies of The Plot Whisperer by Martha Alderson).

Here are a few pictures of us from the end of the day. They're dark because darned if that time change doesn't just sneak up on you!
Julie is laughing like that because Bess and I had to crouch
to be the same height as her :) Yay short people!

It was a fun day! And now I'm back to work again. Headed to the City tonight to see my aunt and uncle play their music! So I have a lot of work to do before then!

taken from

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Weekend writer blues and Lori is back, Yay!

It's really not so bad, I guess... but weekend writing can be the pits! Everyone is hanging around and waiting to do something fun... and I have to make my quota. Don't get me wrong, I did it... but boy I was unhappy about it today. I wanted to do ANYTHING else... I even contemplated cleaning the bathroom to get out of writing! Eh... but...

8,374 down and 41,626 to go! I am sure I can do this... I mean... I know I can :)

Here are some Halloween pictures to make you laugh :) The ones of me and Lori are from today. Since the power was out last week and Noah worked late that day, we dressed up today.

Tag was a Shark this year! Scary!!!!

For me, Halloween is just a reason to wear
face paint and a ridiculous turquoise ball
gown. Lori is actually wearing a cute costume :)
And one last picture from the internets...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNo day 3, whoopee!

I'm happy to say I'm 5000+ words down and going strong. I love "pantsing" this novel, because I'm getting so much more out of it than I thought I would... already! I KNOW! Characters are cropping up and plots that I hadn't counted on... now if I can manage to keep up this very steady pace I'll be pretty pleased. Who knows where we'll end up?

Also, I wrote a scene today that really stretched me. I won't go into detail, suffice it to say it was horror-esque... and I danced around it and didn't really commit. I'm not satisfied with it yet, but... that's what the editing process is for!

Ok... it's very late, and I've spent far too long playing Plants vs. Zombies again (my reward for making my count).

Go go NaNo buddies Go! You can do this!

"Slowly swimming out to sea, Sirenetta felt that there on
the beach she had left behind something she could never
bring herself to forget." 
The Little Mermaid - Hans Christian Andersen,
painting by Eduard DuLac

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo and a snow storm

Ok, so those cool pictures I posted in the snow? Yeah... We got slammed! There were 8 inches on the ground of wet, heavy snow... and in the trees... and on the wires... The power went out for the second time this year. It was NOT a piece of cake... I mean, we were better prepared for how to handle it than last time, but... (and this is for you California folks who don't know about snow) it's COLD when it snows! So we were without power/heat/water for a total of 36 hours... 3 nights... I was bundled in so many layers I couldn't bend my knees! And never took my hat off... even when I was sleeping.

So here I am once again singing the praises of electricity... running water and central heat never felt so good!

Now on to NaNo. It's day one! The excitement is a-crackle in the air... and I've made my quota of words for the day (hence the blog posting). I think this one has potential... at least in the way of me finishing it and being happy with it, not struggling with it and beating it to death like the last one. Yay!

A big shout out to all my writing buddies who are furiously scribbling away. May the writing fairies be with you.

He must have died if the little mermaid had not come to his rescue -
The Little Mermaid, by Hans Christian Andersen 
Painting by Edmund Dulac

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's still October, right?

That's the cable wire... we use it for internet... not disconnected, but
definitely down. We're supposed to get it fixed by 8 pm tonight. 
Catch the snowball Tag!

Still wondering what happened to the snowball...

This year's jack-o-lantern
It's still snowing, and supposed to keep snowing all day/night. Eep!

Friday, October 28, 2011


I have been listening to this song a lot in the past couple of weeks... it seems to me to be an audible expression of the feelings that have been swirling around in my heart since I found out that my cousin has a brain tumor.

It's one of those moments in my life when I wish that I had been raised differently, to have a closer relationship with my extended family instead of feeling alienated from all of them. I have been, in my own way, reaching out to them more recently... and to this "little one" especially...

It's not that I feel sorry for myself, but I do feel sad for sweet Katie... it's a lot of scary information to have to process, to learn to live with... not to mention the emotions... I just keep singing this line from the song to myself... hoping it will reach her from here: "And if you can't remember a better time, you can have mine, little one/In days to come when your heart feels undone, may you always find an open hand/Take comfort wherever you can..."

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Technologically challenged much?

Wow... I just figured out how to put new tabs on my blog... It took me THAT LONG!* Not that I have that much to say elsewhere... but it is nice to be able to point people to my smugmug account... especially since I would like to start drumming up some artsy photography business on the side (on the side of what? hmmm... enigmatic...). Anyhow... look look look look at the top of the page there and tell me if you see it, can access it, get redirected to my page when you click the link...

And now enough of THAT distraction. It's a good thing I figured out how to do that before next week. I could have lost valuable word count. Time to disable Plants vs. Zombies for the month now, too...

*I swear I'm usually really good at figuring out web gadgets and such... this one just eluded me for a while.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

NaNoWriMo cometh!

Next week, I and others like me will begin scribbling furiously to meet the 30 day deadline of 50,000 words that is NaNoWriMo. For me, this will be one of the most productive months out of the year. I work o, so well with a deadline... something to aspire to...

In preparation for that literary frenzy, what am I doing now? Outlining? Pre-planning? Plot-mapping? Oh no! I'm stockpiling books to read... which is somewhat helpful... because they will give me inspiration by either being lovely and enjoyable or hideous and horrible (something to aspire to... or to aspire to be better than...) (for a complete reading list, just ask me). I'm also trying to a)start and complete creative projects that may distract me next month otherwise... and b) refrain from starting and NOT completing creative projects that will MOST DEFINITELY distract me next month. I'm convincing myself to hold off on beginning the quilt I just bought fabric and a pattern for... but I AM working on a new painting inspired by Hawaii and my love for dolphins (oh, did you not know that about me yet?). It's definitely a work in progress:

I'm also planning to go to the NaNoWriMo kick-off party for my region. This is somewhat intimidating on a number of levels... 1. I'm decidedly introverted now... and worried that they won't like me or I won't be able to connect to them at all (they being those writers that are also attending this party). 2. The "You're not a REAL writer" monster has been roaring rather loudly every time I consider mentioning that I'm a writer... and he scares me! 3. (suspect this is a byproduct of the aforementioned monster) What if I meet them and we're all geared up to write 50,000 words and then I completely fail and don't meet the goal? Or worse... what if I DO meet the goal and the whole thing sucks??


If anybody has a muzzle for my monster, would you please send it to me ASAP? Thanks.

Saturday, October 22, 2011


I'm getting ready for NaNoWriMo. The month of November has been reserved for the writing of 50,000 words of a story that I'm not even sure is that long. I'd like to think it is... I just re-read the tiny bit that I wrote when I had the idea... and it could be good. The characters are distinct, strong... and the basic story line is healthy...

Photo credit: Noah Kauffman
It's the implementation that I'm worried about. Last year I did 30,000 words to finish out a novel idea I have had since high school... and now that it's done, I'm not sure what it is... but at least it's done. I read somewhere in the comments of the "blogiverse" that "the writing is in the editing"... so maybe when I start editing that one it will find its shape better.

For this one... I dunno, this one is special, and I'd like to see it turn into something I can show people... that I can be proud of.

I worry too much... as evidenced by the fact that it's after 2 a.m. and I'm still awake.

So as the month of October draws to a close, as my blood tries to thicken against the cold New England winter that approaches... my characters will be seeking shelter from the harsh North Sea... and all the dread power that she wields.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Leaving paradise

I think we're going to move here. No really. It's amazing. And we've found that property values are reasonable. And look at it!!!
Sexy surfing husband!

Red footed Booby

Poipu: Spouting Horn
If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Water nymph, Kauai style

Giving the wedding dress a good workout in a beautiful location.
Photo credit: Noah Kauffman

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

A beautiful tropical island... and some chickens!

We are vacationing in Kauai right now and absolutely loving it!


North Shore: Ke'e Beach

There are wild chickens all over the island.
We think they are awesome!

Friday, October 7, 2011

More Yellowstone!

Here are some more shots from my trip to Yellowstone. I wish I had a more inspiring post for you today, but my thoughts are a little muddled. One of my dear ones is hospitalized right now, and I'm worrying for her, even though I know worrying won't help... but it's all I can do... and on top of that we're going to Kauai on Sunday for 10 days... and all the details that go into making that trip a success (and making sure all my creatures are happy and well-fed) are driving me a little to distraction. Sheesh! I need to go read a book... maybe a zombie book... to try to calm down. ;)

Enjoy the photos!

Yellowstone Public Transportation: some of these
babies still have crank engines!


Hee hee hee!

Columnar basalt! Created by lava flows... ya know,
 from the SUPER VOLCANO!

A great book about the Sheepeater Indians:
"Mountain Spirit" by Lawrence Loendorf and Nancy Stone

Friend! At Osprey Falls

ELK! Blocking the bathrooms, no less...

Least Chipmunk.

Natural Bridge

Bison jam...