Saturday, February 28, 2009

Honeymoon Edits

Started typing up handwritten revisions for "The Honeymoon of Mr. and Mrs. Roux"

11-ish, downloaded a couple of albums from Amazon as a bribe for working on revisions - A Horse of a Different Color by Big & Rich and Always Got Tonight by Chris Isaak.

Continued work on Honeymoon.

Short break to reassure Sherman that the roofers next door are not, in fact, the devil and that she can stop barking at them any old time at all, or even sooner. When that didn't work, I opened the blinds in my office to make a nice sunny patch on the floor for her to lay in. This worked.

More Honeymoon.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Catch Up Weekend

I was doing well with my 20 minutes a day goal, but this week it fell apart. Between the lead-up weekend with David & Christopher Moore and starting the week off with a CWC meeting, I was already pretty worn out to start with. Then throw in a sudden meeting for the composition department and substituting today and, well, I've been busy.

My total this week so far is about half an hour, if I count writing a letter as part of my writing time. So, while Deb is taking the weekend off to recharge her creative batteries, I'll be taking the weekend on to catch up with my goal.

Stupid Deb, with her break, and stupid Jenny with being finished. Bastards. (I say that with love.)

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

On That Revising Thing

After the Christopher Moore adventure, I looked him up on the interweb. I checked out his FAQ and all was going well until I got to #18. The question: "Do you do a lot of rewriting." The answer: "Almost none..." Then it wasn't going well any more. To tell the whole world about the lack of rewriting smacks of arrogance. He later qualifies it by saying he writes very slowly, thus implying that he does a lot of editing as he goes. While it buys him a little bit of credit back, I was still irked.

After all, here I am, knee-deep in my third round of formal revisions on my thesis. Third! And, we're not talking a surface polish, either. We're talking cutting out whole pages, adding in whole paragraphs, and generally still working on getting it the right shape. The last thing I (or Deb, or Jenny, for that case) want to hear is how "easy" it is for Moore. Ugh.

Of course, what finally saved my mood was when I was listening to a playlist of music I have and a song from Rent came on, thus making me remember Jonathan Larson. I talked about him in my very first post to this blog. I like Rent. I own the movie and have the Broadway soundtrack. It has lots of good stuff in it and if I could ever see it live on Broadway, I'd be psyched. But, back to Larson. The musical is famous now. Incredibly famous, in fact. Which is cool, but even better is the encouraging part where it took Larson an amazingly long time to... *drumroll* revise it. We're talking seven years from when he first had the idea to when it was good enough to go on stage.

He worked on it, worked on it, worked on it, and then tried to get it on stage. And then he was told it wasn't good enough. Then it went through major changes. Then it still wasn't good enough. More changes. Lather, rinse, repeat. But, in the end, it was worth it. Not, sadly, that Larson got to enjoy it since he died on the night of the final dress rehearsal. (Yeah, there's a morbid joke in there about the effects of too much revision).

So, in the revising scheme of things, all this time I'm spending on my thesis isn't too bad. Yeah, I'm no Christopher Moore, but it could be worse. I could spend nearly a decade on it, finally get a book deal, and die before the sucker's actually printed, only to have it win a posthumous Pulitzer.

Saturday, February 21, 2009


I saw not one, but two authors yesterday.

At two o'clock I went to a poetry reading by David Keplinger and then was off right after to make my way to Christopher Moore.

The poetry reading was good, and I got to say "Hi" to David, though it was a brief "Hi."

Then, after a few car pool-related stops, Jenny, Shane, John, Oliver and I arrived in Boulder. I bought a copy of A Dirty Job which Moore signed. I also got a copy of his new book, Fool for Deb, which caused some confusion. For the signings, the bookstore staff passed out sticky notes for us to write the personalized messages we wanted Moore to write. By pure chance, when it was my turn, Moore got the "To Deb" first.

Moore: Hi Deb.
Me: Oh, I'm not Deb.
Moore: Huh? (He looked very confused, probably because he also looked very tired)
Me: That book's for a friend. The other one's mine.
Moore: Oh, right.

No writing/revising got done, but I'm giving myself a pass because I saw two authors and drove to Boulder and back all in one day.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Thesis v3.0

I gave Juan the first re-revised story today. Handing over "Albatross" felt good. The story is tighter and stronger than before and that makes me happy. I'm officially making progress on the third major draft.

Typed up the last part of revision notes on "Albatross" and printed it out for Juan.

Finished notes on "The Honeymoon of Mr. and Mrs. Roux" and made a few notes on "The Messenger."

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Transcribey Goodness

9:30 p.m.-10:15 p.m.

I want to give Juan a revised story tomorrow, so I'm working on transcribing my revising notes. I'm nearly done with "Albatross," so that'll be the first one up this round.

I just deleted two whole pages of text. It was strangely satisfying.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Feb. Day 17

I seem to be falling into an every-other-day pattern this month which is counter to my daily writing goal, but tends to put me over my total minutes goal, so I'm not exceedingly worried about it.

Monday: no writing.

Worked on Cass

I'm almost to the 100 page mark on Cass, which is exciting. That's two rounds of CWC subs, or at least it would be, if it didn't have whole chunks missing out in the plotline. Still, I'm not going to have to do a big rush to get my March submission in and I'll have extra time for revising it before I hand it over. Muy bueno.

Back In

I've had a hard time reading lately. It seems that the library doesn't have any especially good books and those I do end up taking home don't hold my interest once I crack them open. This has been a time of book abandonment for me. My favorite was losing interest in a book which had a plug on the front about how it was "thrilling" and impossible to put down once you pick it up.

Finally, last night, I opened a book and got sucked in. The book: The Year of Living Biblically by A. J. Jacobs. I started reading it around 7:30 and pretty much didn't stop until I went to bed. I haven't done that for a very long time. It was nice.

I just wish I could find something that's fiction that does the same. I don't know if I'm just off fiction for a while or if there's something about the specific fiction I've been picking, but I'm in a memoir mood for sure.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Using Momentum

Since I did a coffee shop day yesterday and since I'm itching to make progress on my thesis, I opted for another coffee shop day today. Different coffee shop, and a specialty latte that had an unfortunately high amount of sugary syrups in it. Today I dove into another long and labor intensive story, "The Honeymoon of Mr. and Mrs. Roux." I got in an hour and a half of more notes, crossing out of things, and writing in of things.

Finally, I hit the point where, instead of complete notes/rewrites, I was writing only "Something else here" and decided to call it a day. I'm not sure if I'll make it to the part where I'm transferring my edits to the computer today (still have a pile of grading to do and I promised myself a trip to the movie theater tonight to catch Underworld 3 if I was good), but at least I've got a lot of notes.

I think I might try and make a point of doing some out of the house pages throughout the week, too, since this weekend has gone so well. I'll probably do more library pages than coffee shop pages, though, since I can only drink so much coffee.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Catch Up + Weekend

No writing Friday. Finished student conferences, though. And, most importantly, watched the first episode of Dollhouse. I am so thrilled that Joss is back on TV. Words cannot describe it. I'm just curious to see how he's going to make this particular premise work.

11:30ish-12:00ish (Didn't look at the clock)
Got two and a half pages of a new short story started. Playing around with a different narrative style.

Worked on thesis revisions at the coffee shop while listening to pirate music/sea shanties on my MP3 player. I worked off of a hard copy and made lots of notes, crossed things out, and wrote a few new passages by hand. I started with "Albatross" which was probably the story in need of the most revision and got all the way through it. Each time I go through it, I cut more and the story gets shorter. It's funny that way. Then, I moved on to a couple of others. All-in-all, I have mostly completed revision notes for two whole stories (have to look up something for "An Ocean Kind of Blue," but it's done otherwise) and a couple of notes on "The Messenger."

The other stories will be quicker on revision, I think, since there's generally less to do - except on "When Bridgette Went Into the Water" which is my other revision biggie.

Also today, I stopped reading Being Written because I got tired of the book being too self-obsessed "Look, look! I'm metafiction!" Then I started reading How Fiction Works by James Wood, or at least skimming it. It's not bad, and parts of it will come in handy for my thesis preface.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Dang Students, Slowing Me Down

No writing Wednesday.

Worked on Cass.

Busy with student conferences and grading this week. It's been unexpectedly difficult to keep up. Fortunately, it's almost the weekend and I'll have some time for filling the gaps.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

So Begins The Week of Student Conferencing

Monday: no writing.

Worked on Cass

Conferenced with Comp. student

More Cass.

12:40-More students.

Friday, February 6, 2009

End of Week One

Typed up new Cass material.

Break to research plant magic.

Typed up new Cass material.

This brings my time for tonight up to 50 minutes, and my total for the week 135. It doesn't surprise me that I went over, though I didn't expect to be over by so much. It's just so easy to write one more paragraph, one more page, when you've already gotten a bit of momentum.

I had a delayed start, but in the end, this week's writing went well.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Catching Up

Worked on Cass stuff - played with chapter headings, added stuff to the Cass Bible, transcribed the beginning of a new chapter.

6:55 - 7:15
Took a break to talk with Casey. His DeSoto's engine busted (a vivid illustration on the vital importance of monitoring oil levels) and he's looking for a replacement car to drive while the DeSoto's out of commission. He's currently deciding between two cars, a '97 Chevy Cavalier or a '66 Chevelle. I vote for the Chevelle 'cause it looks cooler, like this one.

Finished transcribing the chapter.

Eighty-five minutes, all together. Now I'm slightly better than caught up to where I ought to be. I feel better now.

Off To a Late Start

My February challenge got off to an unimpressive start. Before I knew it, Monday was gone. I was busy with grading & class prep on Tuesday, and just plain exhausted Wednesday. My 20 minutes a day never got started, much less realized.

Today, though, I got in a nap and am pretty well caught up on class work. So, a few days late, yes, but I've begun the new regime. My 20 minutes starts now, and I've got some notes for Cass stuff ready to go.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Twenty Minutes

I've got loads of things to do right now - between teaching three classes and finishing my thesis, I've got a lot to do and not a lot of time to do it in. And, in March I think I'm up for a new CWC submission. Bottom line: I'm busy right now.

Thus, to expedite the whole getting done of things, I've decided that my theme for February is going to be about discipline. This is something that's never really been my strong suit, though I have been better about it lately. Still, I don't have a set writing schedule.

So, this month I'm going to commit to writing and/or revising either my thesis or the Cass book for twenty minutes a day, Monday through Friday. Twenty minutes feels like a good amount to start with - it's enough to build momentum, but not enough to feel intrusive. And, if twenty minutes doesn't feel like enough, I can always go over.

New Car Smell

I accomplished my main goal this month of putting all the odds and ends of Cass stuff together. I'm currently sitting at 75 pages (20,000 words) all compiled in a logical fashion. I feel like I've been productive. It helps, too, when I know I need to work on thesis stuff because then I make even more progress on Cass.

I'm slowly making progress on my thesis intro, too. Though, that progress slowed after the last CWC meeting when I got feedback that made me decide to change the direction of the thesis a bit. So, gotta go back through and change some things in the fiction before I can finish up the exposition.

Two new projects, one new vision, and that's plenty to have started in a month, I think. Especially a month where I also started teaching three new classes with a new book, a whole new prep (Eng. 099) and a new class schedule (Tues/Thurs). Lots of new in the new year so far, and I'm only just getting started.