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Archive for the ‘My Random Thoughts’ Category

I’ve gotten back to writing a bit. I’ve restrained myself from crocheting for a while. I’ve been reading this week though. I don’t get a chance to read very often. When I read, I tend to tune out the rest of the world, and if it’s really good I won’t take a break until I find a good stopping point. I can’t let myself do this very often with a four-year-old. This time I’m trying to spread it out over several days so I don’t completely ignore him.

A new book by one of my favorite authors just came out, “Raven’s Ladder” by Jeffrey Overstreet. His books are awesome, anybody who reads this should check out his Auralia Thread books. His writing is full of imagination, beauty, and fascinating characters. Every time I read one of his books, it inspires me to write more.

I don’t have much time to write today. I have to read some more, of course. Also, I need to catch up on dishes, etc. and still find time to play outside with my little man. The weather has finally become tolerable enough to go out. It’s been cold, icy, & icky for so long that I think he’s forgotten that the outdoors even exist.

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Let’s rewind to mid-November. I was actively working on my novel every day. I was optimistically hoping I could keep up the pace and finish by the end of the year.

Well, what happened? LIFE! A family emergency took my full attention for over a week. I tried to write a little in the midst of it all. I did manage to make a little more progress, but then Thanksgiving came. Suddenly I was responsible for an entire Thanksgiving meal, plus a couple of dishes to take to two more dinners.

We managed to make it through Thanksgiving. Then our car started acting funny so we had it checked out & dropped a couple hundred dollars to fix it. Immediately after that, my husband got sick & discovered that a nasty chronic infection that just wouldn’t go away was back with a vengeance. The next week the car overheated, almost stranding my husband on the way to work. He added water & barely managed to get it to the shop. We shelled out several hundred more on a new head gasket. My husband had to bum rides to & from work for a few days. We almost didn’t get the car back in time for Christmas.

The total car repairs for the month of December ended up being around $1,000! Gee, we could have gotten a new car if we knew that was going to happen, but we definitely couldn’t afford it now. We couldn’t even afford to buy presents for family. We’d already gotten stuff for our son, but we decided not to get each other anything. We consider our new computer that we had to buy to replace our lightning struck one to be a present for both of us. Sometime between car repairs, I got the idea to put my creativity to good use to make gifts for other family members & friends. I crocheted constantly, making scarves, slippers, even dolls. A few of the gifts had to wait till after Christmas since I had very little time to finish.

By the end of the year, we were ready for it all to be over, hoping that maybe, just maybe, next year would be better. The new year started okay, except that my husband still wasn’t better, despite three rounds of antibiotics. Then mid-January we all got a bad cold. Hubby got a new & different infection on top of his old stubborn one. He’s now taking the strongest antibiotic to date, but is still not better. My son somehow got strep on top of his cold, & despite the antibiotics he’s taking for that, his cough isn’t getting better. I foresee more doctor visits in our future. I’m almost all better, though, so I can’t really complain there.

I can complain, though, that our sickness just happened to coincide with the birth of my new baby niece. So far we’ve only been able to look at her through the window. I hope that, soon, I can convince my sister that I’m well enough to hold her.

Somewhere in the midst of all these happenings, I’d gotten so depressed that I didn’t want to do much of anything. Crocheting became my escape & my obsession. After all the Christmas presents, I made a cardigan & hat for my new niece & some cute Converse style baby booties for a friend by altering a pattern. Then I took on a new project to make a Yoshi plushie for my son’s birthday. I couldn’t find a free pattern, so I decided to design my own, which I’ve never done before. Then I made my husband a pair of Converse style slippers, once again my own design, because he was jealous of the baby booties I made.

So needless to say, with all this crocheting I’ve been doing, I haven’t done any more writing. I’m not sure what to make next, so maybe I’ll get back to writing. Then again, my mom gave me a sewing machine for my birthday, and I need new pillows and curtains. When will I write again? I don’t know, but I do know that I will…… soon.

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I somehow found myself with no opportunity this past weekend to write. (Except for a half hour window that I spent checking my email for the only time during the weekend) I was very frustrated because I have lots of ideas that I want to get down. Hopefully, I can manage to write extra today if my little man takes a really good nap and I can unlock my inner speed writer. I just realized last night, though, that I still have almost a whole chapter to revise before I can go on to something new and add to my word count. I’m probably being way too optimistic with my goal, so I’ll revise it to 50,000 words total. See future posts for possibly even more lowering of standards. Until then…

 

15,757

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Well, It’s been over two months since I last posted. My computer got fried by lightning about two months ago. It was an iMac, and our back up computer is an old Gateway laptop. It’s just not the same. I haven’t gotten over it enough to get back to writing. I know that’s a really bad excuse. We’re getting a new iMac today, and I expect to get back into my writing again soon.

I’ve had a few good ideas during my off time, Most came in the usual way, middle of the night epiphanies that I’m too sleepy to write down. I’ve tried to remember most of it and bounce the ideas off my husband to see if any of them are actually good. If nothing else, I’ve gotten to know my characters better in my reflections.

I got one of my more unusual ideas just before my computer got zapped. I had an idea to actually name the chapters of my books. I wasn’t planning on this, because I have so much trouble naming things as it is, but I just got this idea stuck in my head. I was lying awake thinking about the first chapter, which I was adding scenes to at the time. Since I was sleepy, my thoughts kept wandering randomly, and a song kept popping into my head. It kind of became like a soundtrack to my thoughts. It was one of the songs my husband and I wrote. This gave me an idea that I wanted to test, so I fast-forwarded in my head to chapter two, and another one of our songs came to me. Then I realized that I could think of a Tiny Rain song that would fit, either perfectly or loosely, with almost every major part of the story. It also worked for the other book ideas I have for the series. So I decided that I would name each chapter after one of our songs, and if one didn’t fit then we could write a new one just for it. We need some inspiration to make new music anyway. Since I love writing, and I love music, I thought this would be a great way to bring them together. This idea also led me to a few other ideas, like book names, a name for my fantasy world, and also the idea to play up the role of music in the story.

I actually have to give partial credit for this idea to (I don’t remember who) who wrote (I don’t remember what) which used titles of eighties songs for the chapter names. I had started reading this book because of this interesting hook, but it didn’t otherwise grab me, so I stopped.

At some point I might share these ideas more specifically, but I’m not sure how much to reveal at this point. Until next time (hopefully not months from now), listen to some Tiny Rain songs at our Virb site.

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I actually did enter that NPR contest that I mentioned before. I surely don’t expect to win, but it was a good writing exercise. The only specifications for the contest were that the story had to be no more than 500-600 words long. I’m not so great at coming up with ideas, so I wasn’t sure that I could think of something to write about before the deadline.

I had almost given up when, one day last week, I was struck with inspiration. It was nothing special, just the first line. It was morning, just after my husband left for work. I was in that between awake and asleep state that I muddle through every morning when I must have dozed off for a minute. I woke up with a vague impression of a short dream and the sentence, “I assumed you forgot me.” Since I didn’t remember the dream well enough, I really didn’t have much to go on, but I thought that it would make an intriguing first line.

I had to go against my general preference of writing in third-person for this story, but I have been convinced that it is easier to write a very short story from a first-person viewpoint. I’d recently learned this premise from multiple sources, including the judge of the NPR contest, so I gave in. (Thank you to my husband for not teasing me about it after I recently criticized something he wrote for it being in first-person. It really was good. I just wasn’t feeling it at that time. He’ll probably never write again.)

Anyway, I took that first sentence and changed it just a bit, then tried to think of what to do with it. It had multiple possibilities, but I gravitated to one particular idea and followed it. Then my husband helped me to fine tune it. He is my toughest critic, but I think he actually liked it.

This story is different for me. I was a little out of my comfort zone, but I think it is still enough like me, though it may be a bit too dramatic. If I tell any more I’d spoil it. When the contest is over, I will post the story here for your perusal.

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Wow! I’ve been really bad. It had been so long since I even logged on that I had to reset my password. I guess it doesn’t matter, because nobody reads my blog anyway. (If you’re out there, leave me a comment so I know.)

What’s going on now? I’ve gotten sick of putting things off and I want to push forward with my writing. I really haven’t written much in the last several months, but I’ve started at it again. Though right now I’m kind of stuck in a planning phase. I had planned things out generally, but now I feel like I need to get to know my characters, settings, & plot even more and get all my ideas written down in some form.

I really don’t know how to go about this, but I’ve been spending a lot of time lately reading about writing. It’s probably a big time waster, but I think I’m learning a little bit. I’ve been “putting the cart before the horse” a bit too, reading tips from editors & agents. Today, I’m avoiding work on my story by blogging here. Now I’ve got to go fold some clothes, or something equally distasteful.

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What I posted before was only relevant to antenna television viewers in Arkansas, but all over the nation there are probably now many rural viewers who are very upset. While digital TV is clearer & better when it works, there are many issues that need to be worked out, and they should not have mandated the change before they adequately addressed these issues. People who haven’t gotten a digital converter box is the least of the problems. That’s all you ever hear about on the news. They don’t talk about the people who can’t get DTV at all.

We live relatively close to Little Rock, but near some hills & surrounded by trees. We have a large antenna mounted on top of the house & an electronic signal booster. We get all but 3 channels in our area pretty reliably, but if we did not have the booster we would only get a few channels. And if we didn’t have the big outdoor antenna, relying only on rabbit ears, we might not be able to get any channels. There are likely some people out there in the rural areas that are now finding out they can’t watch TV anymore unless they shell out money they can’t afford for a big antenna & booster or waste money every month on satellite or cable. Some, but not all, of the problems can be overcome by the stations increasing their signal power. Some stations have decided to do this, but a lot of smaller stations can’t afford it. It is also doubtful that they will increase it enough for the far reaches of their supposed viewing area to receive.

The main problem with the quality of over the air digital transmissions is that, if you aren’t receiving a strong signal, then you can’t see, or hear, anything. At least with analog TV, if there were tornado warnings all over the state, you could turn on the TV & possibly listen to the meteorologist even if you couldn’t make out the map on the screen through the static. If you live near trees, you are less likely to be able to get a good signal during a storm. So, with digital, some people will get nothing when they need it most. I suppose you could listen to the radio, but that’s sometimes hard to get too. A lot of people don’t have a weather radio & most radio stations don’t cover the weather in detail, because the TV stations do that.

Even if you have a reliable signal, there are frequently digital “blips”, and sometimes it even freezes completely for a while. This can sometimes make it unwatchable. Other times,when it’s mostly working, it can be annoying, but at least you’re getting something. There’s also the inconvenience that some TVs & converter boxes delete a channel when the signal gets too weak. You have to reinstall the channel anytime this happens.

My family began adjusting to the transition early & even researched how to optimize what we have, but most antenna viewers weren’t aware of the problems to come. We would have been in the same boat if we hadn’t been proactive. As I indicated earlier, the TV stations’ idea of educating people about the transition was to make a huge deal about simply telling people to get a digital converter box & scan for channels. I have not heard a single thing about the rest of it. It also seems that, when they talk about it, they suddenly start talking as if they’re addressing a child (especially Fox), because anybody without cable or satellite must be poor & dumb. Right? Well, they may be dumb or they may just be uninformed, no thanks to the media. Regardless of the status of their intelligence, there are many poor, or just smart & frugal, people who have recently discovered they can no longer watch their favorite TV shows or even the news. They may be a minority, but they should not be ignored. I just wish someone would actually pay attention to this problem & do something about it. Well, that’s my rant for the day. Goodbye.

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