Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Under My Couch

I got ambitious, got the broom, lay down on the ground and swept under there (it’s very low and covered with a slipcover.)

Here is what I found.

A mini magnetic drawing pad.
Calculator that the kids use as a “computer”
Half a dozen balls.
A dumdum pop.
A little cat.
A plastic rattle/teething ring.
A soft cloth book.
Three sponge swords (homemade.)
Book, “Little Gorilla.”
A coloring book.
A porpoise.
Two plastic fish.
One squeeze starfish.
One seahorse water gun.
A shark.
A monster truck.
A bumble bee maraca.
Two plastic cups.
A plastic mini baseball bat.
A cow.
A horse.
A dinosaur.
My hairbrush.
One baby pacifier with teddy bear clip.
One boy pacifier.
One mini play do container.
A sponge “T.”
Bunny rabbit bubble container.
A goose.
A drawing pencil.
A baby hat.
My missing sunglasses.
No less than four of my shoes—no matches, all singles.
One THOUSAND cheerios.

There was, however, no whale. Do you think he found a more exclusive hidey hole? It was a bit like Times Square for toys under there.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Number One Happiness in 2007

Ivy Beatrix

A new little person came to join our lives this year. On her own time table, I might add. After hanging out until two days past her due date, she wanted to be born and she wanted to be born immediatel. So she popped out to say hello.

Little Ivy Bean. Beanie Baby. Little Elizabeth Taylor of the dark blue eyes. My Baby Ive. Little Gurrul. Smiles. Baby Doodle. Stink Butt.

She’s already got boyfriends littered throughout Brooklyn.

Everyone is always so amazed at how well behaved and happy she is.

She is so alert and strong. Oh, very strong, from day 3 when she was already beginnning to hold her head up and the doctors and nurses were surprise only a couple weeks later when she tried to roll over on her own.

She loves her big brother and always wants to play with him.

She loves her papa and already says “PaPa.” Infact I think today she said “Bye Bye PaPa.” Is that possible?

Little Baldie Baby.

Welcome to the world, Ivy.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

What Does It Mean to Live Life Well?

It means living in positives. The focus is on what IS, what CAN BE, what is beautiful, meaningful, happy, productive—rather than what I don’t have, what I am not, what is stopping me, what is wrong with the world, what bothers or upsets me. It does not mean that those things aren’t a factor, it means that I choose not to give my energy to them.

I want to look for moments of inspiration and beauty. Capture them. Seek them out. Court them. Open up for them to arrive.

I want to value what I have, whether those are things or experiences or qualities.

I want to be productive and work towards getting the things I want to have in my life, not just think or write or talk about them. Do, do, do.

I want to be creative and say yes to the possibilities of failure. Not everything needs to be perfect, not everything needs to be brilliant. The process of creation is often more important than the product. And allowing failure in means I am making room for success.

I want to be open in my relationships with the people, not withdrawn. I want to communicate more, whether face to face or online or on the phone or even letters. I want to share of myself.

I want to go on adventures and challenge myself and face down the monsters of fear and insecurity.

I want to listen to music and dance and surround myself with art and watch good movies and read good books, and share all those things with people.

I want to create a home that is comfortable, beatiful, welcoming, stimulating and relaxing.

I want to find a balance with our finances so we do not have to worry all the time.

I want to enjoy my children and S. and revel in every moment I have with them.

I want to connect with friends again.

I want to take care of myself, and my children and S. so that everyone is healthy and strong for our many upcoming adventures.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Forced, and I do mean 'forced' myself to write last night

The kids had me busy all day yesterday without a break, since their naps did not coincide. And of course I was exhausted.

So when I finally sat down to write at 10pm, I was almost ready to say “screw it!” and rest on the laurels of my wordcount. Hey, I have plenty of leeway to win Nano, I don’t have to force myself to write every single day!

Except winning Nano isn’t really the point. The point is to write and for me to develop my writing practice again. It’s about writing my novel, not hitting a wordcount. Nano is like the tool I use to get what I want, not what I want in itself.

I thought about the future, and what my saying “screw it!” to last night’s writing would mean in the long run, and I knew it would only be the beginning of not taking my writing seriously. There would be more and more days of deciding I’d done “enough,”and that would then lean to loss of momentum, and soon I would stop writing regularly, and soon I would stop writing my novel at all, and it might never get done.

I have too much work to do to allow that. So I told myself I had to at least write something. A few hundred words, that was all. And when I checked a half hour later I had some few hundred words, but I still had a half hour until midnight, and I thought I could stand another half hour, so I kept writing, and decided I had to get at least 1000 words, which isn’t a minimum for anything, in my book. So I thought I should hit the nano minimum of 1667, and then when I checked I was TEN words short, so I had to keep writing and then the next time I checked I was about 200 words short of 2k, so I decided I couldn’t give up there, now could I? So I ended up writing for an hour and a half and hit 2073.

So there’s my forcing. It’s strange that once you get past your own resistance, it isn’t as hard to hit your goals as you feared it would be.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Back in the Game at 30,643 words

I think, anyway. I can’t guarantee that I will be able to continue writing at the prior speed. I got 3732 words yesterday in two sessions, nap time and after Heroes.

I am less than 20 thousand words away from winning NaNoWriMo. That’s exciting. I won’t be done with the book then, that I can understand and accept, but I will have achieved my goal. Last year, I wanted to complete the actual book, and then I wanted to hit the double 50s, or 100k.

This year, I think I’m going to take a more relaxed route to finishing my novel. I think that when I hit 50k, I want to slow my pace down from 3500 words or so a day to two thousand I day, and then use the remaining time for… wait for it… editing!

Yes, I think I am ready to begin using the internal editor while I am still writing the novel. I feel like Nano had done it’s job and gotten me away from the paralyzing fear of not being good enough. Or not being able to do it.

I still like having the deadline, but I want to develop a writing practice that won’t overwhelm, one that’s sustainable.

Someone remind me that I said that when I start freaking out.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Throw Away Fifty Things

This is a challenge I am going to give myself. It will be the last gasp of purging all the useless and outmoded things and ideas in my life, since I have already been working on it all. Fifty more things, on top of everything I have already done, will be almost like a life change.

I will lump some things in one lot. So all the old tank tops will count as one thing, not however many tank tops I throw away, but if there are certain items that take more emotional effort to throw out, they will be bumped up to one item. Like the huge book of 9/11 photos will only count as one item, althought I may have ‘old books’ as one lot. I might also try to sell some things, or give them away, rather than just toss them on the street, but I have decided not to have a sidewalk sale, because that was just giving me an excuse not to just up and get rid of things.

So here goes my list. There may be addendums or switch outs, that’s all okay. All I need are 50 things, it doesn’t matter which 50.

1. sell or give away my huge, old, barristers desk, nicknamed ‘my boyfriend.’
2. sell the piano (it’s too big for us to move around. we can buy an electric keyboard with whatever we sell it for and G can play that.)
3. wok
4. pots and pans I don’t use
5. blender
6. old sewing machine table
7. big white round table
8. tanks that are too small or too tattered
9. orange plaid vintage dress
10. exersaucer
11. doorway jumperoo
12. old black frames
13. red plates
14. typewriter
15. shoes
16. old video tapes
17. old books
18. wig
19. unused or usedup art supplies
20. broken children books
21. all saved glass jars and tins
22. ratty red cushions
23. old outdated files from the bookcases
24. boppy
25. slings (to flying squirrel)
26. baby mobile (to flying squirrel)
27. nice baby clothes (to flying squirrel)
28. donate baby clothes (to salvation army)
29. my handmade scrapbook
30. the worlds largest laundry basket (aka the broken co-sleeper)
31. straw mat
32. an old coat
33. another old coat
34. decorative paper party lanterns
35. ‘witches brew o words’
36. rooster
36. strange paper vase
37. candle stick with green shade
38. scarves I don’t wear
39. old holy socks
40. brass wine cup
41. broken terracotta weird cat/dog thing
42. that found bike that is too big for G and will be so for about 5 years
43. paper supplies that I just won’t use
44. art books that I just don’t care about
45. all metal hangers
46. big white wall shelf that I’m never going to put up
47. some tea cups that I used to collect
48. those square ice chests
49. old phone books
50. ohmigodmylastone! a whole bunch of old makeup and perfumes and creams and what have you from the medicine cabinet (second sweep)

Now that I look at this list, I may have to do another fifty once I am done with this fifty, but I will still mark this fifty as quite an accomplishment when this is done, because I have put some might difficult toss-aways on this list.

Phew! Now get started on the tossing.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

I've got to get cracking!

Yesterday, I hit 21,704 words. Passed the 20k milestone!

Now it’s 1:25 pm. And I have a feeling that one or both of the littles will be up soon.

Man, I should have started writing sooner. But I had the nerve to shower, dress, eat something, get some more coffee, check a couple of emails and a story on AOL about how astronomers have found a planet outside of our solar system—this actually is connected to my science fiction story, so I had to read it.

Well, I still have time to get my writing done. Maybe. No need to anticipate failure, right?

Lets get moving, and maybe I’ll get my reward for hitting 25k today. I asked for a crock pot. So unglamorous, but I like the idea of cooking without all the tending. It would make my life easier.

Okay, get to work now. I really do want to aim for 25k. It’s only 3,296 words. I think my average daily word count is just over four thousand.


Tuesday, November 06, 2007


I only wrote 483 words.

A big drop off from my four thousand plus of the last four days.

But that’s okay. I did it consciously, I didn’t beat myself up about it. I just took a day (mostly) off.

I was exhausted from repeated wakings the night before, and needed to get some other things done and needed to get to sleep a little earlier. So I took it easy.

It’s a good thing.

But I have to make sure I pull it together today and for the rest of the month. Remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Day 4 wordcount 17802

I’v been writing about four thousand words a day. I think that’s a lot. Whenever I tell S how much I wrote, he is always amazed. I am too, a little.

I don’t know if I will be able to keep up that pace. Last year, I started out with a pretty high wordcount, and then stumbled quite frequently. I take the low days as part of the process. They are going to happen. There will be days when nothing comes or when life keeps you from sitting down. That’s why I wanted to start out with more words than I needed as a cushion. I still finished with a pretty high wordcount, but I don’t know what will happen this year.

I might be moving soon. I hate not knowing, but I’ve got that in the back of my head—another reason that I’m trying to get ahead of the game.

Whatever the result, I am not anxious about how many words I write. I am not going to stress about whether I reach 50k or double that, or whether I finish the story. More than anything, I am doing nano for myself, and for my books. They want to be written, and without the impetus of nano, I put them off and put them off and maybe wash the dishes instead—or maybe not, maybe I’m just watching tv, giving in to the exhaustion of raising two little guys.

So I will write, trying to beat my wordcount or trying to surpass it, or trying to scrape up enough words to match yesterday, because without that goal, I let it slide. And I don’t want to.

I might get depressed if I fall off the writing. If I stop or slow down. There’s no reason to, but I know it’s what happens when I fail to meet my perfectionist standards. I’m trying to be easy about it all, and not get too excited about having my nice fat wordcount, so maybe I won’t get too disappointed if I don’t keep it.

Gosh. None of it matters, really. All that matters is that I write. And I’m writing.

Yay me!

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Nanowrimo Day Three: 4007 words

It is SOOOOOO hard.

And it’s not the writing that is hard. It’s me. It’s fighting with me, with my exhaustion and distraction and confusion and worry that it is no good and fear that it makes no sense and lack of focus and lack of will to write.

I knew that it was a normal difficulty, that the struggle is part of the process and that with persistence it would pass, but that doesn’t make it any easier to bear when you are stuck in the middle of the stuck.

I wouldn’t turn off the tv. I went online to various websites. I sat trying, again and again to get on the nanowrimo site. I even started a fight with S. All ways, I know, to avoid sitting down and facing the page with my FULL attention.

And when I did, finally, without distractions, without feeling sorry for myself and my sleep deprivation or bad back or lack of planning time, well, I broke through the rough spot and found where I was going with this scene. And it made sense in the story. And things that needed to be addressed were addressed. And characters were fleshed out. And I started to really feel the story, which I wasn’t before.

What a relief. I believe that’s called breakthrough. Gosh I hope it lasts until tomorrow.

The moral of the story, trust in the process, don’t give up, and write, write, write.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Once upon a time it took me two years to write a novel

And it wasn’t any more perfect upon completion of the first draft than the novel it took me a month and a half to complete last NaNoWriMo.

The novel I slaved over for months and months, painfully typing out words that I would then erase, obsessing over whether it was good enough, staring off into space before commiting to a phrase or sentence, well, it needs just as much revising as the novel I wrote last year for Nano, whipping through the pages in a desperate, terrified,caffeine fueled fire. And they were both equally painful and ecstatic in turns.

This is an interesting realization.

I know that in my slower phases of novel writing, I often worked so hard on getting the right words and perhaps the words were more polished, but those words sometimes took me off track, and because I worshipped them so much, I would let them take me for chapter and chapters, wondering all along what was missing but not being able to put my finger on it. More than once, I had to delete huge sections of my book because they had taken me where I didn’t want the book to go.

I also know that in my quicker phases, I have spent an awful lot of time on planning when I wasn’t writing those words. Much more time planning and ruminating than actually writing, and I think that has a lot to do with why I was able to write a story that was just as coherent as the one that took a couple of years. Nano looks like a shorter process, but it isn’t shorter by much, although I think the external pressure definitely speeds it up.

Another thing that I know is that I am kind of stumped when it comes to revision and rewriting. I have written two complete novels and one play in the first draft, in addition to numerous unfinished first drafts, but have never been able to finish a second draft, beginning to end. Hmm.

Nano is tough, but it’s in and out and over sooner rather than later. Revising? That’s something different. If I may, for me writing a novel during Nano is like childbirth. All the planning that goes before is the gestation, but Nano itself is the labor. And then, I’m afraid the revising and everything that goes into putting out a finished book is like raising a child. That’s where all the really sustained work goes.

I need Supernanny for novels, to help me raise my books.

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