storyrainthejournal: (bluebutterfly)
A short rant from a single person:

It gets tiring being alone. Almost every single one of my friends and acquaintances has a significant other. While I know there are challenges aplenty to keeping a relationship healthy and alive, being alone is challenging in ways about which it seems most people have no clue.

For instance:

If I don't have a job, there's no one to take up the slack. I can't quit, ever, unless I have another soul-sucking dayjob lined up to jump to if the one I'm at has become untenable (like, it keeps me from writing=untenable).

If I have a bad day, no one is going to make me laugh, commiserate with me, hold me, or otherwise offter support when I get home. The cats are lovely and all, but mostly they just want me to feed them.

No one ever makes me dinner and believe me, there are many days when that small help would make so much difference. 

If something breaks, it's all on me to fix it.

Our culture, and many of my attached friends, are often pretty damn insensitive about this state of being.

(Yes, we're feeling a little sorry for ourself. So sue me--people are allowed to complain about not having a job; I can complain about not having an S.O.)

Here endeth the rant.
storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Look, sometimes it's hard not to feel like you're just not good enough. I'm not alone in this, I know.

You see your peers having agenting and publishing success that you've been working for, for, in many cases, for far longer than they have. You know it's not that you're not a good writer. But perhaps, yes, you're just not good enough. On some level, at some part of the process, you haven't gotten it down.

So, what then?

If writing is just part of who you are, as it is, you will keep writing, and yes, keep trying to have a viable--which is not necessarily to say quit your dayjob--career doing what you've wanted to do--felt made to do--since you were fairly small: write and publish novels.

But you're going to keep writing the novels you want to write, because this thing, writing, it's what feeds and enlivens and illuminates life and its passage of days for you. So. You can't really complain when the market--and the agents, and the editors--don't want your novels. Well, you can. Complain. But it's a losing game, that, and really, you want to be happy in this life, not miserable. You want, also, to spread happiness, to connect in joy, to be full of that shifting, wonderous illumination you try to put into your novels.

You have to have compassion, not just for everyone else in the same, or similar, brave little vessels on these often stormy, monster-filled seas, but for yourself. And, has been so often said, you persevere--and you persevere in hope and joy and all the good stuff, even if you end up persevering right into old age without the validation of agent and editor and publishing contracts (and everything that has to come after that, over and over again). Because the alternative--misery and carping and bitterness and giving up--just isn't the thing.

You'll still complain sometimes, to friends and loved ones, and cry, and get angry, because you're not a martyr or a saint, just a human who's a writer in a leaky but lovely little can-do vessel on the amazing, awe-striking, wonder-filled seas.
storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Or, transparency and object lessons for others...

One of my goals in novel writing, since my first novel, is to bring together my two favorite kinds of novels in one, melding the page turner with the lyrical love of language novel. Since some of the reviews for The Z Radiant called it a page turner while others liked its lyricism, I felt like I was somewhat successful.

in which I muse on where I failed... )
*
Got the cats a rolling food dispenser, this thing; preliminary results: it's a good idea. They like it, it keeps them active all together as a little pack batting it around and eating one or two pieces of kibble as they shake them loose. I lessened their morning feed to balance it out.

*
I haven't watched it yet, but Heartless: The Story of the Tin Man, up on Tor.com, looks interesting. 

The seond half of Meghan McCarron's "We Heart Vampires!!!!" is up at Strange Horizons, here.

Apparently, even the OED can be wrong; the dictionary definition of "siphon" has been wrong for 99 years.


storyrainthejournal: (Default)
I guess even a horoscope has to be on target once every 365 days or so; mine is rather ridiculously apt today:

A close friend or associate might seem very detached today, putting you in touch with old fears of abandonment. But it's crucial for you to separate your fantasies that are based upon painful memories from what's actually happening. Even if your emotions have been recently agitated, don't take it personally now if current relationship logistics require a bit of a cooling off period.

*

Feline update: kittens still rather savage, but also sweet and endearing. Aristotle, though occassionally Grumpastotle, seems to have them well in hand, plays with them quite a bit, and touches noses regularly. Still can't decide if Tinker is really still Otis and may just have to let him be Otis. Scaramouche is definitely Scaramouche.

*

I have recently thought of the following ways of changing my life, none of which is particularly practical: go back to school for my PhD and become the academic I decided not to become after I got my MA (the job market for anything I would get my degree in is entirely dismal); move into the bottom floor of my mother & stepdad's tiny place on the ocean, with my three cats, and look for freelance writing work so I won't be completely and totally broke while mooching off my broke mother & stepdad (the pathetic quotient on this one speaks for itself).

On a more practical note, I continue to look for that illusive 30 hr a wk job that actually pays enough for me to keep paying my bills and feeding everyone.

*

Some day I will finish this novel (and start the next one).
storyrainthejournal: (Default)
I will never be one of those online peeps who generates lots of chatty engaging content. I have neither the energy for it, nor the interest. This lj developed out of two things, a desire to stay in more and better touch with friends, and my own journaling, which used to fill dead tree books and now exists in the ethers instead. I probably post as many private entries as public and friendslocked.

I've been thinking about this, on and off, a lot lately. musings on hopes and realities )
storyrainthejournal: (youwhat?)
First of all, thank you again to everyone for good thoughts and wishes re Sula. They mean a lot.

*
Still feeling pretty gutted about Sula, and so not interested in being at the dayjob (yes, I know--what's different about that, Jessica?). But I'm sure it would have been better for me if I could have stayed home on the couch today with A-cat to write and be sad as needed.

I've developed a stye in my eye.

*
In other news, making notes and wading slowly into a new novel project, one I'm pretty excited about. Still into Deep Terrain and going to finish a draft any day now...ahem...no, really... But it's good to have another project on the table to help me move along more smartly on the current one as well.

*
In other other news, we (that's the royal we) really need to get more exercise, dammit. Stupid dayjob.

Whiny rant, activate (you may want to avert your eyes): Things this straightjacket, have-to-be-in-this-office-this-many-hours-five-days-a-week effing job makes it hard for me do regularly: write, exercise, see movies. All things fairly essential to my health and sanity, thank you very much. Of course I also like having my nice loft and eating well and taking care of my one remaining cat and my own autoimmune-affected self, so, you know, I can't, like, quit. feh. Why couldn't I have been one of the smart, lucky people who have found ways not to have to have a regular full-time dayjob, like by having mates or being more successful as writers or...sigh.
</whinyrant>

*
Finally, I have to say another thank you to my friends and to the universe, for providing me with the actual physical presence of several of those friends over the course of the past weekend. They buoyed me greatly after Sula's death, just by being there, by feeding me, and with hugs.
storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Lovely kind of rain this morning, beading everything with light; temp around 45, and didn't feel too too cold. I would have loved to be able to go for a long walk with my camera, but alas, I am here at le dayjob. I can't hear the rain, or smell it, but at least we have a window.

While I'm not a fan of resolutions I did think of something I really want to work on in the coming year: not being sad--or feeling left out of the club in which I was supposed to be--that I'm not one of those writers, even after so long (and though I'm apparently a pretty good writer), who can say "my agent" or "my editor." I don't want to ruin my day that way every other week anymore. I'd like to do this without having to give up reading blogs and tweets.

Other than that, two other thoughts with which I'd like to go into the new year: Keep writing with my heart, mind, and spirit fully engaged. Live with love and humor as much as I can. 
storyrainthejournal: (fable)

A nice essay here, by my friend Katherine Hester. Very much worth a read.

Tangentially related the essay's subjects...I'm not sure how much I love Austin anymore. I tend to want to stay in my loft when not at the dayjob or out with friends for a particular purpose. I used to love walking the neighborhood, walking walking walking. Not so much these days. I find myself longing for some different kind of landscape, different kind of place. I don't know where it is or how I would get there, but I do long for it.

I suspect it's a longing that's really about things other than physcial landscape or place, a longing for home--someplace kind and secure, filled with support and nurturing, humor and love, a place of belonging that I haven't had or known since very early childhood--that has seldom been far from me all my life.

Ah, melancholy. You'd think I was Danish. Oh wait, I do have some Danish Jew ancestry...

Okay, back to the novel while I can here at la dayjob.



storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)


I don't like reading posts on other writers' writing processes. On where a writer is, what their techniques and tips and tools are. It's such a personal relationship, my relationship with my writing, that, for me, nuts and bolts blog posts about writing are always just noise--and anxiety-producing noise at that. So, you know, I skip them. More power and blessings to everyone who writes them and reads them--I'm certainly not saying they're bad. I think the community and transparency and sharing they represent are, basically, goog things. 

But I wonder about why it is I shy from them when, apparently, so many people seem to appreciate them.

Now, I'm distinguishing this from the kind of nuts and bolts things you can learn in a workshop, like, say, Clarion; I remember that long (long) ago first week of Clarion West w/ Howard Waldrop. After years in undergrad and graduate writing workshops at universities with lit writers who treated short fiction structure like some arcane, unspeakable osmosis one could only imbibe, but not describe, Howard was eye-opening and thoroughly refreshing. To paraphrase, he said to almost everyone in the group (er, except me, but it was still enlightening): "Here's what this story is trying to be about; here's why it's not working and what needs to happen for it to work." And gave useful examples and details. I still enjoy a workshop now and then, the give and take with other writers, talking about specific things in stories--face to face--that's rewarding and fun.

And back when I first started writing, when I was oh so very young, I read essays by Ursula K. Le Guin, C.J. Cherryh, Samuel Delaney, and other writers I admired, on writing; later in life, I enjoyed Anne Lamott's Bird by Bird.

But there's a limit to the usefulness of such, I think. And I reached it some time ago. The creak and stretch, lift, fall, connection, and bloom of my relationship with writing, with my writing, are so internal and personal I find it hard to parse them, and almost--I don't know, painful, wrong, indecent?--to do so in a public format.

Though perhaps what we mostly get from blog posts about process are shallow descriptions of those deeper workings? And everyone's way of going about that kind of description is going to be different and speak to different people more or less meaningfully. I don't know; in any case, it is, for me, noise. If I don't trust my gut and go with that, I'm lost. Being engaged in the operations of my own writing, from deepest germination through growing pains to the scritchings of twig and flower against the sky is the surest joy and reward of writing I know and if I spend too much time listening to other people, I lose my connection with that.

So, that's me. What about you?


 

storyrainthejournal: (colette'shandw/cat)
It doesn't matter how anyone else is doing it.

It doesn't matter what others have got that you have not.

Celebrate everything you can, for everyone you can.

You've been doing this long enough to trust yourself and accept where you are and be good with it, no matter where that is or is not. Just keep on keeping on and enjoy it all as much as you can.

This doesn't mean you can't learn new things from all sorts of places and peoples. You can. You do.

But you have stuff to offer, too, and it's just as valuable.

Eat the magic mushrooms.
storyrainthejournal: (luminousrain)

Ways to turn three-day weekend into mini-vacation:
  • stop and pick up treat (spider roll!) for dinner on way home tonight
  • do nothing tomorrow but write, read, go to a lunchtime movie at the Alamo (and have lunch there), and get some kind of relaxing exercise
  • rest of weekend do the usual chores and stuff, but, er, more relaxed, perhaps w/Barton Springs trip
  • visit upstairs neighbor for kitten therapy periodically
hmm. Well, it is what it is.

*
Trying not to go to the sad place on the writing career front. sigh. It's hard not to feel like you're just not in the club and don't really rate when the agents all turn you and your pretty SF book down.

*
Not moving as fast as I want on Deep Terrain, but moving, apparently, as fast as I can.

*
Rain: want.



storyrainthejournal: (onward)

Ugh. Facing the long hot summer here and the daily day job grind, and I really wish I could get out of Texas at some point, but between the money spent on Sula's vet bills and an upcoming special assessment of around $1400 at the lofts, is no can do. I will go visit my mom in Malibu in the first half of September, and it will still be freaking hot here, but that's so far away. And honestly, I just miss my mom and sister, and all my far away friends, so much.

I have two three day weekends in a row coming up, which is swell, but no getting out of town, no real vacation on the horizon at all. And at this time of year, everyone goes away so I have no one to do anything fun with anyway. I will just have to do fun things alone, and given the heat, I'm thinking this will be either movies or Barton Springs.

On the up side, neighbor B is slated to watch True Blood with me for the foreseeable, and it was fun to watch it with her last night (funny and awful is an awesome combination, go True Blood); plus she's fostering kittens for the next month, a long furred black bitty baby with the sweetest face, and a tiny silvery-brindley tabby who misses his momma something fierce (he cries unless you're holding him). They both slept in my lap yesterday afternoon.
---

In other news, I'm getting the feeling that my second novel, which is science fiction in the same universe as The Z Radiant, just isn't going to get me an agent at this point in time. Gonna give up on that in another few tries and just work on finishing the current novel, which is fantasy (and wicked cool, if I do say so, etc.) and might be an easier sell.

sigh.
storyrainthejournal: (sulabear)
Sula report: can't be 100% sure with an ultrasound, but the vet says it looks more like the irritable bowel thingy at this point. However, something about the kidneys made them think she might have a kidney infection, so I have to bring her back in at lunch and pick her up after work.

Feeling pretty overwhelmed with stuff that's gotta be done before leaving tomorrow morning, but tentatively relieved that the vet seems to think Sula should be okay while I'm away.

I've been looking forward to my first Wiscon for a while now; I hope I can relax enough to be in the moment there and have a good time with all the lovely peoples with whom I'm going to get to spend time.
storyrainthejournal: (onward)
So, the Buffalo/Philadelphia trip, road trip with my sibs and aging father to see the old homeplace and other things. Some stuff to say, but I'm currently too tired to say it. Also have pictures, which I will post at some point. There was good, supportive family time, and being with my sister was wonderful; I love her to pieces.

Very glad to be home in loft with cats now, though.

I wish I had some sort of exciting writing news to post, but it's been a little quiet on that front. I'm looking forward to Wiscon; it will be my first! I suggested a panel, which will hopefully go, and have gathered an awesome group of folks for a reading; have some stuff related to that to get to work on now that the big trip is done.

I've been very light with lj comments and general presence the last week; apologies if I missed anything important.
storyrainthejournal: (lantern)
A very large parchment yellow rooster serenaded me on part of my walk to the bus this morning. I believe he crossed the road from the house across the street to the field where he was hanging out and crowing.

Why? you might be tempted to ask.
*

Had a very unhappy day yesterday; there was a lot of crying. Generally when the writing career gets me down, I can still count on the writing itself, but somehow it all managed to tire and beat me down to the point of making even the writing feel like ashes in my hands, mind, and heart yesterday. Which is a very bad feeling indeed.

Lighter today, thank everything furry and four-legged. Also ice cream. And friends. Not necessarily in that order.
*

Day job currently quiet, so I am reading and critting stories for a Saturday crit gather.





storyrainthejournal: (Default)
A cold air drifts up from the dark canal, smell of minerals and lost dreams. Lantern light from flat-bottom boats reflects off the water and up the rough, pale stone of the canal walls. Up here, in the thick, overgrown grass under the linden and lime trees, the night is warm and the clustered yellow flowers on the lindens fill the air with honey.

***
Let me explain: A while back, I whined some about how being at the day job makes me feel gray, closed off from the simple wonders of life outside a state office building..how I felt the dire need to crack the carapace that the day job routine closes over me.

Since I have to keep my day job for the nonce, I'm going to try a little daily exercise (or maybe just an exercise I'll do whenever I start to feel gray and forlorn and uninspired); I will crack the carapace with a brief exercise in writing, imagining some spot, some stop along the journey, conjuring it for myself in as much physical detail and sense of wonder as I can--briefly. Here we have my first crack. (god, so many bad puns there)



storyrainthejournal: (bluebutterfly)
I am, believe me, thankful that I have a job right now.

But the essential reasons why I struggle with having to have the day job at all still remain. I begin to feel so drained of life and light here, day after day, hour upon hour. I so long to crack the carapace of the daily schedule, the ugly office, the bad light, to crack it open to let real light, color, interest, the wonder of simple planetary life--my cats, wind, the scent of rain, of jasmine, or grass, tree shadows, mourning doves speaking, the green of Austin's monk birds, a walk to a store or through a park--in. And to let my own light and color and life out to meet it and engage with it.

If my day job had a meditation room, with pillows and quiet, or a courtyard with trees and a fountain, flowers and light, that would be more sane, more evolved. Western culture is so effing screwed up.

I guess it doesn't really help that I'm such a visual, sense-oriented person; my first day of first grade, I remember coming home crying because the classroom was so dark and ugly.

***

I did manage to put in some writing (revision, strictly speaking) time today, between day job projects; but by this time in the afternoon I feel so gray I can't find the...stuff...for the writing anymore. I want to be in a light and shadow hung bower with a loved one, listening to the sea or a stream, dreaming with the sun over my eyelids, my skin and senses imprinted with joy.

Went outside for a while, in the wind and intermittent sun, and that helped...some.
storyrainthejournal: (Default)
Okay, but this does scare me. Military dictatorship anyone? This is not the country I understood myself to be living in once upon a time. Yes, right now it's just a very bad precedent...but let's ask who this military would be rounding up for reeducation and work camps? The crowd of protesters caught in their crowd control and suppresion of civil unrest, the people who object to the divisive, anti-intellectual, exclusionary, and hate-mongering policies of the current administration and wish to exercise some free speech? Or perhaps the recently disenfranchised homeowners (seriously, use the freaking bailout money to pay these peoples' mortgages!) who've just had their voting rights repressed by Republican party machinations?

My Jewish ancestors are currently shivering in my bones. When I escape to Canada (with my cats) as a refugee will someone take me in?
*
Hmm. I think I may have an idea for a comedic romp of a near-future novel there.
*
Sending out agent queries leaves me feeling grumpy, needy, thwarted, and unappreciated.
*
I've always thought that if I could have three wishes, one of them would be to be able to play the violin really beautifully. How about you?
storyrainthejournal: (annoyed)
Well, the day off was awesome. Wrote, erranded, napped with cat, exercised, read...

Slammed with a rushing and escalating (as I type) wall of work this morning, when I sooooooooooo wanted to cadge some more writing time. By the time I get enough of this done to actually do that, I predict a brain too fried to be of any fiction-writing use. 

Please to picture massive tantrum. I demand that a reasonable, workable, productive writing time be part of my daily weekdays. I. Demand. It.

...whimper... 

eta: not to mention time to exercise and prepare decent food...

wah.
storyrainthejournal: (bunny)
Been having a deep case of the do not want to be heres at the day job since Armadillocon. In the morning before I leave, it's the do not want to go theres, want to stay here with kitties...there is a great weight of yegh on my shoulders and soul and it is the day job, yea, verily. 

I have to have the job. I do not want the job. I make sounds of unhappiness and angst at the universe. 

In other news, exactly no writing got done last week, it hasn't rained enough, and my republican brother is feeling optimistic about the future of the country, which, while I'm happy for him, makes me nervous.

I did have a lovely time with [profile] carolineyoachim, [profile] tacithydra, and friend Saturday afternoon/evening, and a great nap with Aristotle cat on Sunday.

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