Thursday, June 29, 2006

Back From Vacation

I’ve been away, off on adventures with Adventure Boy!

We went to Florida to visit Grandma and all the family down there.

It was nice to get out of the city and smell green trees and have the boy meet his uncles and aunts and cousins and get to spend time with his Grandma—whom he loves, of course. He also got to explore grandma’s house, and all the various toys in the shelves. Some were toys actually meant for boys, some were things like books, or newspapers, or dog toys. Adventure Boy! makes no distinction. He did get to hang out with Grandma’s doggie, too, and chase Grandma’s cats.

Adventure Boy! went to the beach and into the ocean for the first time. It was the Gulf of Mexico, and it was so soft and warm and salty and clear. He enjoyed it and even dunked his head which made him sputter, and then laugh, so he did it again—dunk, sputter, laugh. And we went out for food and live music and saw a wild egret come down from the sky and sit next to us at the table. We drove all around and played with a second cousin who was 8months old (who I hadn’t even known existed) and… what else did we do? Oh, so much.

All great fun.

The plane ride was not as much of an adventure for him as you’d think it would be. He prefers people watching. And animal grabbing. And eating.

Thursday, June 15, 2006


We went to the Central Park Zoo for adventure Thursday, today. We saw penguins and polar bears and harbor seals and little jumpy monkeys. We saw goats and sheep and pigs and a cow that went, “mmmm-ooooo-oooooo!”

Adventure Boy!’s favorites were probably the penguins and harbor seals—oh, I mean aside from the farm animals that he lo-o-o-o-o-o-o-oves. He demands to be put on his feet, and then sticks his hand through the bars so that he can touch the animals, and he laughs hysterically when they lick his fingers. Of course, that’s in the petting zoo. No sticking hand through bars of the polar bear environs.

We did see two polar bears wrestling underwater. Just about the coolest thing I ever saw. Didn’t realize how big they were. I think they were too big for Adventure Boy! He spent more time watching the big girls watching the polar bears than watching the polar bears themselves.

All of this journey was on my back. No stroller. I carried him in an Ergo carrier, which I love, but didn’t keep me from getting exhausted and achy.

After, we stopped at Barnes & Noble for a coffee and a break from the Ergo carrier. I showed him a book of paintings. That counts as adventure, too.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Moving along at a steady clip

Writing about a thousand words a day in my novel. Today, I even stopped myself when I could have gone longer… why? Well, I had other things to do. Unfortunately, my full time job is being a stay at home mom—that’s taking care of the munchkin and the house (not that you’d be able to tell I was taking care of the house by the looks of it right now).

It would be nice if writing could be my full time job. It would be nice to write ten pages a day. Shoot. It would be nice to have it part time, even ten pages a day on the weekend would be nice—but, alas, such is not to be.

The baby cries, the cats meow to be fed, the laundry begs washing, the plants wilt with thirst, the dishes moulder in the sink.

And I STILL write. Yeay me.

Not only that, I also did some research online about the publishing business—specifically in the SF field. This is important, because writing is not only an art, but it is also a business. And I think that is a place where I can get hung up. I start thinking no one would want to read my book, let alone buy a copy or want to sign me for a contract or represent my book or what have you.

So, I start my research when I have only 36 pages. (Did I mention I have 36 pages? Weehee!) By the time I am ready to send out my book, I will know how I’m supposed to do it, and to whom I should send it, and what I can expect.

That’s business. Along artistic lines, I was quite amazed today how the story is coming out. Characters come out of nowhere, and after a few pages, they are necessary to the story. Details are added that flesh out a whole world and its laws and politics and history. Someone says one small thing, and the story takes on a whole new, completely logical and utterly necessary spin.

This is what I love about writing a novel, even more than short stories, or poetry, or painting a picture, even—it’s how the world of the piece builds and gets deeper and richer and more real.

It breathes!

It's True, I Am a Geek

Just incase anyone was doubting. Here is my evidence.

I Am A: Neutral Good Elf Ranger Bard

Neutral Good characters believe in the power of good above all else. They will work to make the world a better place, and will do whatever is necessary to bring that about, whether it goes for or against whatever is considered 'normal'.

Elves are the eldest of all races, although they are generally a bit smaller than humans. They are generally well-cultured, artistic, easy-going, and because of their long lives, unconcerned with day-to-day activities that other races frequently concern themselves with. Elves are, effectively, immortal, although they can be killed. After a thousand years or so, they simply pass on to the next plane of existance.

Primary Class:
Rangers are the defenders of nature and the elements. They are in tune with the Earth, and work to keep it safe and healthy.

Secondary Class:
Bards are the entertainers. They sing, dance, and play instruments to make other people happy, and, frequently, make money. They also tend to dabble in magic a bit.

Mielikki is the Neutral Good goddess of the forest and autumn. She is also known as the Lady of the Forest, and is the Patron of Rangers. Her followers are devoted to nature, and believe in the positive and outreaching elements of it. They use light armor, and a variety of weapons suitable for hunting, which they are quite skilled at. Mielikki's symbol is a unicorn head.

Find out what D&D character you are. NeppyMan had the plan.

I miss playing D&D. And I think I really might be a Neutral Good Elf Ranger Bard. I shall name myself Milliandra Scalarion the Gwynedd. And I shall sing for my supper, tra la.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

I Think I'm Back

Having a baby and suddenly (nine months in the process, but suddenly, all the same) becoming a mother can be very hard on the self identity.

Who I was, once upon a time, was creative and independent and sexy and hard working and a little bit rockstar and a little bit bohemian poet in a windy garret. And a lot more. It was always fluid, but always up to me to determine.

Being a mother is to be swept away in the tides of humanity—countless others have been there before me. I never realized the strength that biology would hold over me. The whole process of creating a new human being out of my body is still kind of unbelievable to me. I was completely unready for the number that hormones would do on my body, on my emotions, and even on my mind. Then there is the responsibility and time commitment of raising a child. The loss of freedom and the ability to travel light and/or at a moment’s notice. And how I underestimated the toll that sleepless nights would take.

Being a mother kind of swept away who I was.

But I think I have figured out a way back. It’s about asking for the things I need. It’s about taking time away from household duties and even mothering in order to take care of my duties to myself and my writing and my creativity. It’s about joining a community of other mothers, even if we don’t know each other that well yet. It’s about keeping track of where my life is going and remembering the goals that I want to reach down the road. It’s not easy, really, but it’s not all that complicated either—simple to comprehend, hard to do.

I can’t say that everything, or even anything is perfect. I’m still working on it all. I’m still learning how it works. But, at least I am back to who I am.

Chapter 1

I think I’ve finished chapter one of my novel.


I thought it would take longer, at least a week. But writing a novel is a game of inches. It’s the inches that add up to the miles long journey.

Oh, don’t get me wrong… it’s not “done” done. But I see the beginning and I see the ending. Needs some filling in, but it’s there.

I have been struggling for the last few days.

It’s funny how well the writing can be going and then all of a sudden, it’s a strain, and painful… yes… it’s constipated. I don’t want to sit down and write and when I do I’m confused and uninspired and dissatisfied. It seems as if it comes out of nowhere, but maybe it doesn’t.

I think you might be able to find my difficulty with writing coincided with G’s difficulty with sleeping.

He’s still having difficulty getting to sleep, but atleast he’s staying asleep once he cries himself out. And maybe I am getting used to the tension of a not-sleeping baby.

But here’s the question, do I keep going with my writing, and start on chapter two, or do I go back and start revising what I already have???

I think I should just keep moving forward. See what happens.

Besides, when I go to visit my mom, I should have time to revise what I already have. (chapter one! woo hoo!)

Friday, June 09, 2006

Brain Movement

As I sit here, the baby is crying in the other room, refusing to go to sleep.

Yes, my good-sleeping boy has become a don't-wanna-go-to-sleep-I-want-to-stay-up-all-night-and-hang-out-but-if-I-do-have-to-go-to-sleep-I-wanna-go-to-sleep-on-top-of-mama-boy. It's been a couple of days of this.

I hardly know what to do. He's been fed, nursed, changed, rocked, held, petted. He has his pacifier, his doggie-blanket, his Bob Marley playing on the cd player, and a fan to keep the room cool. He's so tired that he has already fallen asleep and woken up five times. Of course he woke up the minute I left the room. He has everything he needs to go to sleep, he just won't do it. He is so tired.

I just need to leave him in his room and let him sort it out for himself.

What I have to do is block out his whimpering and complaining and stop holding all this tension in my shoulders. Breathe and relax and move forward. Just get to work.

Hmmph. That's interesting. I just realized that there is a connection between an over tired boy who refuses sleep and a woman who is desperate to be creative and productive and mentally stimulated, but is resisting doing what she needs to do.

But why? Why does Gabriel resist sleep? Why do I resist writing?

I suppose switching gears can be really difficult... especially when sleep or writing is so over due. Going from being awake to asleep, or non-creative to creative is hard. And scary, too. There's always the possibility that we won't be able to sleep. Or the writing just won't come, or maybe it'll just never be any good.

And as someone who has experienced occassional insomnia, I also know that the stress of not being able to sleep, watching the night pass and wondering if you will ever be able to get to sleep, is incredibly stressful. If you just chill out and relax about whether it will or not or when will it or how hard it will be or will I be rested in the morning-- well, chances are you'd fall asleep much easier. And the same goes for being creative.

I swear, I did not start writing this post with the intention to say this. It just came to me as I wrote, an epiphany, of sorts.

It came through the writing.

See, Rowena, if you write, there will be brain movement.

And, by the way, by the time I finished writing this post, Gabriel stopped crying and just went to sleep.


To Do or Not to Do

I’m finding that I am resisting my productivity.

At least I am today. I don’t want to open up the files for my novel. I don’t want to wash the dishes. I don’t want to sort through the piles of clothes waiting in the bedroom. I don’t want to turn off the tv and MAKE myself face the things I have to do.

I know if I sat down and tried to get my brain working again, it would start to work. The ideas would begin to flow and thoughts would trickle back and logic would click into place.

Instead, I find myself digging my heels into the ground and hanging onto the towel bar, screaming, “I won’t grow up!”

Of course, not literally. But this is what I am realizing is going on. I’m not “too tired,” or “too busy” or “too sick,” or even “too lazy.” I am afraid and do not want to take responsibility for my own life.

Why? Why not? Why not take chances and step on out into the real world? Why not try to make my wishes a reality? Why not DO instead of daydream????

Ay dios!

Is it really that hard to take control of life, instead of waiting for it to happen to me?

I’ll get back to you on the answer to that.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Writing Past the Demons

I wrote over a thousand words today. Woo hoo. Even though G woke up too soon from his nap and I had to go meet my sister. Yes, after I sat down at the computer, I sat down again and went at it one more time. I did not give up. I did not say I couldn’t do it. I just did it. I could, if I wanted to, still go back and write some more.

The crazy thing about writing a novel is that people underestimated how hard it is. Even people who think it’s hard underestimate how hard it is. They love to write, they enjoy stories, they want to BE a writer, they may even be very talented.

The thing people don’t often realize is that writing a long work like a novel, you are not only confronting the difficulties of your characters, plot, style, and so on—but you are also confronting every dark and painful issue in your own life.

To write a novel is to face yourself, in a very bald and exposed way. Do you have issues with self esteem? That will come up. Do you have issues with self destructive behavior? Do me a favor, don’t keep a bottle of whiskey in your study. Is organization your problem? Perfectionism? Depression? Loneliness? Commitment?

Honey, whatever it is, it is sure to come up while you write your novel—if not in the actual story, then in the writing of it.

I suppose there are many ways to get through all these personal burdens. You can face them directly and let them go, you can use them to power your story, you can bully through and shut everything down but what you have to do. I’m not actually sure how everyone gets past their demons… but that is part of what makes writing so hard.

The demons come out to play, and you don’t get to ignore them… not if you want to write.

Growing Up (Warning, baby post)

G is getting very big, very fast.

Now, when I pick him up and hold him in my arms, instead of lying there all compact and cuddly, he strings out, long legs and arms akimbo. He is about to start walking all by himself, everyone says so, as he is cruising around the room, going from coffee table to couch to high chair to piano bench, to tv. He is also practicing standing alone-- and he's getting pretty steady on his feet.

It's obvious that he is more able to understand what we are saying, now. He listens, he responds, he anticipates. Now I can have conversations with him, and even if he can't talk back, there's real communication happening.

He also has girlfriends all over Williamsburg. And most of them are older women. He's such a flirt. He likes to get people's attention and have them fawn all over him. Everyonce in a while, they don't respond at all. I tell him then that not everybody is going to want to play. Then he moves on to the next target.

I can't believe that G is 11 months old. Hardly a baby anymore. A toddler, a big boy. He's even getting hair, although it is still strangely strawberry blond. No teeth, though. He might be gumming his food til college.

He loves music. He stops whatever he is doing and turns whenever someone starts singing on Blues Clues or Sesame Street. He's begun to clap along to it, also. So cute when he claps with his chubby little hands. Sometimes, it looks more like he is brushing his hands, or cleaning them. Well, I guess there's a learning curve to everything.

Yesterday, he was standing with Papa, and he was doing so well, that he started clapping. He knew he was doing well. Just like he gets frustrated when he falls and starts to cry-- because he really wants to get up and run around and just keep going. Adventure Boy! indeed, just still in training.

It's like a miracle the way people go from these little lumps of blank baby clay into these real, honest to goodness people.
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