Saturday, November 28, 2009

NaNoWriMo abandoned

Well, dear readers, I failed.  I let life get the better of me and I've given up the NaNo chase.  Sigh.

However, something interesting happened on the way to the finish line.  I began to write my 2007 novel again.  It seems that the reason last year and this year haven't panned out is because I'm not finished with the 2007 story.  So, here's the new plan: work on 2007 again.  Rewrite, revise, and get it into some coherent shape so that I'm not embarrassed to have others read it.  The plan is to work on getting a legitimate manuscript completed.

And that's where the plan stops.  Sending it out to agents will be another topic I'm not willing to discuss right now.  FIRST, get the manuscript written and polished.

In the meantime, I need more writing practice.  I've not written a successful (in MY definition) short story.  I jumped right into novels.  I follow quite a few writing blogs and their advice is to practice, practice, practice and start with the short story.  They are well published.  They ought to know what they are talking about.

Okay.  That's the plan.  Keep the butt in the chair.

Oh, yeah - check out the latest Nova program on dreams: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/dreams/     Way cool.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

A Great TED Talk that you will enjoy

TED is a small nonprofit devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It started out (in 1984) as a conference bringing together people from three worlds: Technology, Entertainment, Design.

This is one of my secret vices.  I love watching these videos because they inspire me and also make me laugh.  Tonight I watched Jonathan Zittrain talk about the internet.  Amazing stuff I never knew and I was so taken aback that I felt I had to share.  It's about 20 minutes in length and you will love it all.  I promise.


Check out the full list of videos.  Great, great stuff.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Who is Who is Me?

Cynthia over at Creative Writing Corner had an interesting question: Are There Many Versions of You? This struck a chord with me. I’ve often felt that I don’t know who my true self is because I AM so different with others.  Cynthia’s main point was this: who is the real self? Given the lives we lead, communicating with hundreds, even thousands more people than our parents ever did or their parents before them, we must diversify ourselves to survive and thrive. At what cost?

I was required to take a Strength Finders test for one job and it was, as all of these type tests are, easily manipulated into giving the results that you think the boss is looking for. Therefore, it is not you. So, the work-a-day world commences and you demonstrate repeatedly that you are not what that test showed you to be. Friction and conflict ensue. Chalk one up for the bad side.

People with heart-rending problems call in to my upstairs job looking for help or a point in a better direction and I become another person for them, a “Mother” figure to vent to, cry with, and then receive some advice, guidance or just wishes for future success. This is one for the good side, in my opinion.

Friends see someone who blends with them, family sees all the sides above and more, but at the end of the day when I sit down with my thoughts, I do wonder just who I really am? I get so fragmented and folded and bent “out there” that the “in here” is wrinkled and dented as well.

Is it the knowing that this is so why I tend to write as others may paint, sew, compose, or sculpt? Is it the creative side of us that irons us out into the true self?

Cynthia, I don’t have answers, but I share your question!

Monday, November 23, 2009

I Admit It - I Started the Whole Thing

I have always felt inferior for not having a college education. (This feeling was/is assisted by some a-hole bosses that I won't name.)  Entry level jobs are all that I could ever get because of it.  When I was graduating high school - with honors - I was told that I could not attend college.  My family was barely scraping by.  Of course no one in my tiny town even mentioned to any of us (that I know of) that scholorships and grants were still plentiful and I could have had major assistance.  Instead I get a grant to go to a vocational school for dental assisting.  Yawn.

So the other day, I'm surfing the net and I see an ad: Working Moms Return to School - Obama funds Pell grants - or something along those lines.  Pell grants I've heard of.  Here's the start of my mistake:  I click on the ad and take the short survey to see if I qualify.  Apparently, (clue #1) I must because I'm directed to a list of online universities.  I recognize most of them.

I click on Colorado Technical University.  They have an AA in general studies, which is what I'd need to go further with anything.  They stop at the information gathering page (clue #2) "to send you more information."  I, fool that I am, fill it out INCLUDING (I'm a bigger idiot than I thought) my cell phone number.

Wisely (chortle if you must) I use my email address that I reserve for shopping and when I'm not entirely sure about someone.  It has a blocking feature.  Their email with the link to their site comes almost immediately to my inbox. 

I could have choked from the rates they quote for their classes.  ONLINE!  There's virtually no overhead for online classes, so WTF?  I click out of it and decide to hang up that idea.  I could get an AA from our local community college system for half the price and have face to face classes to boot.

Now comes the part I regret.  Colorado Technical University uses a call center located in the Bahamas.  By doing this, they do not have to follow the FCC regulations.  No matter how many times I tell them not to call my cell phone, they can ignore it and call again.  And again.  There is no recourse on my end.  I've been called all blasted weekend!  It started last week at work, but I keep my cell phone on silent and saw the missed calls message several times.

So, as a lesson out there, folks:  If they insist on a phone number, give them a fictious one or better yet, give them your fax number.  I've emailed Colorado Technical University about this, but I fear their Contact Us link goes to India or some other place that will ignore the request.  Live and learn.

UPDATE:  12/06/09  The cell phone calls have stopped.  Yay!  The emails have bloomed and gone to seed and the spam is growing now.  Lesson #2 - DO NOT click on any online ads.  That's why I took Google Ads off this blog.  They were advertising some very undesirable items here.

Monday, November 16, 2009

21,617 and

counting!  I'm way behind in my word count, but with my MUST USE vacation time next week (10 glorious days in a row!), I'm not panicking.  Yet.

Does anyone know the latin word for "giddyup"?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Quo Vadis Notebook: Habana - The Review

I received a Quo Vadis Habana Notebook in the mail after I politely requested one on the Quo Vadis blog.  (Okay, I begged.  Happy?)  I didn't find it right away.  My family has this cute little quirk of dumping the mail wherever they feel so inclined and maybe, just maybe you'll get lucky and find that bill before it comes due.  Okay.  Fine.

Then, I set it aside thinking that after NaNoWriMo I'd open it and see what was what.  It stared at me.  I actually dreamt of it last night.  Surrounded by many, many bottles of ink, there it sat waiting for me.  I know an omen when I dream one.



First of all, THANK YOU to Karen of Exaclair, Inc. for sending the notebook.  Please note that I have no affiliation with Exaclair - except in these recurring fantasies where I get locked in their warehouse for a long weekend with a fully loaded fountain pen and a box cutter.  (Hmmm... Might be time to see my shrink again.)

Okay, so.  The facts are these, my friends:
  • Lined - not too wide and not too narrow.
  • Round corners - love it!
  • Ribbon marker - classy.
  • Pocket insert - might come in handy, who knows?
  • 80 sheets - okay, I'm a pig and want more.
  • 6" x 9" - fits into my purse with total ease.
  • Elastic closure - way cool and not bulky at the connection points.
  • Clairfontaine paper - 90 gr. - more to come on this one.
The cover is a selling point for me.  It feels leathery, yes, but best of all it feels somewhat cushy.  It feels rich.  It feels soft.  It feels great.  The only thing that I hesitated on was that it doesn't lie flat when opened.  It's new, of course, so I can forgive a bit of that.  It won't stop me from using the notebook.




The inside:  I wrote with three of my fountain pens using three different inks.  None of my pens are expensive because I just don't have that kind of lifestyle.  But I have to say, the paper is superb!  

My first pen was my fine nibbed Hero that looks like a Parker 51.  Using Pelikan Brilliant Black I wrote a few lines.  Scratchy.  My nib, not the paper.  No bleed through.  No feathering.  On to the next pen.

Second pen was my Preppy fine nib (yes, I go for the fines.  I write too weirdly for anything else.) using a green ink cartidge.  Smooth.  I could still hear my pen on the page, but it was romantic, not harsh at all.  Again, no bleed through or feathering.

Third, and last pen, was my Pilot Petit 1, fine nib, and a blue-black cartridge.  Total bliss.  Smooth, sleek and fast.  This was perfect.  Even with my carpal tunnel, I could write a long time on this surface.  And of course, no bleed through or feathering.  I can easily use both sides of the page.




No wonder Clairfontaine has the reputation of being the finest paper out there.  It is true.

Thank you, Karen at Exaclair, Inc.!  I truly enjoy this product.  Now, about the secret location of your warehouse...

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

6,882 Words So Far!

And dang if the "Traveling Shovel of Death" didn't show up just as they said it would.  I'm flabbergasted to say the least.

Mixed emotion time again: 
  1. I'm worried that with this weekend's conference, I'll get way behind in my word count. 
    • Anxiety,
    • Panic,
    • Depression,
    • Resignation 
  2. But I was informed yesterday that I have 80 hours of vacation to use before Thanksgiving.  Yeah.  Right.  Well, I managed to schedule 40 of them in the week before Thanksgiving - writing time!  Yay!  And I'm allowed to carry over 40 to use the week between Christmas and New Years - sleeping time!  Yay!  AND my 2nd boss has given his approval as well.  (Juggling my time between two bosses is most of the reason that I have all this time to use.  When I can take off from one, I can't from the other.)
    • Confusion
    • Panic
    • Realization
    • Relief
Life gets way too complicated sometimes.

Anyway, I'm off to bed.  Good night and good word counts to everybody!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

NaNoWriMo Update and BIG News!

Okay - I'm at 2,274 words.  The kick-off event was great.  Thank you "rosiecheeks" - our official municipal liason for NaNoWriMo!

Big news!  I've been published!  http://galleryofwriting.org/writing/1285093  will lead you back to this blog to my piece entitled "A Woman of a Certain Age."  This is my first published work.  I think I can officially call myself a writer.