Archive for July, 2010

Jul 31 2010

linky links

Published by under follow the link chain,Writing

Here’s one reader’s take on living the non-A/C way on her own journal.  The lovely Andrea O’Sullivan of Natural Obsessions Fiber is participating in a marathon blogging effort to raise funds for a charity that benefits the children of families affected by cancer.  Go read along, leave comments, and help out with a few dollars to bring happiness to others!

For those passing around the latest version of the “my biology made me sleep around” argument (an article that several friends have linked to this week), might I suggest reading the book The Prehistory of Sex, by Timothy L. Taylor.  While we are indeed biological creatures, our brains and social dynamic patterns have been superseding and overriding our biological “imperatives” for hundreds of thousands of years.  Plus, if other people read this book, I might finally get to have some rousing discussions and debate about it.  I read it during my first week post-surgery, which definitely gave an interesting mental flavor to the reading experience.

Random awesome author link:  If you don’t read Marissa Lingen’s work, you should at least be following her blog. She is consistently witty, engaging, dryly humorous, and insightful.  She’s also a personal friend and an amazing person, but for today I advertise the spiffiness of her writing voice.  Go read, join her throngs of adoring fans (ok, help create the throngs of adoring fans)…

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Jul 28 2010

Quick update, mostly writerly, with bonus discussion ?s

Published by under health,momentum,The Kid,Writing

I am recovering from all the recent travel though still more tired than I’d like.  We got the packet for The Kid’s school in the mail today, I’m excited and looking forward to all the supplies shopping!  It looks like a good balance of school and off time throughout the year.

I’ve finished two flash fiction pieces in the last two weeks, and this week I am working on another Byer Family story.  Today I wrote 4 1/2 pages on it and once again find Squirrel Byer to be one of the easiest narrative voices I’ve yet had the pleasure to write.  Plus this one is a nearly all-children cast of characters, which should excite my few but loyal fans who know my work.

So yeah, writing is slowly coming back online regularly rather than sporadically after the madness of the last couple of months of health recovery and travel and court stuff.  It’d be cool if I could get back on a daily writing schedule even before school starts.  If not, I suspect I’ll have much more time most days then.  Full-time child-care is demanding and exhausting!  But he’s a great kid, bright and inquisitive and thirsty to learn all about the world and the interesting things and people in it.  He also has interesting enough ideas that I can tell he’ll be good for my work overall, even if there’s been a few hiccups in my wordflow as we adjust to the new household member.

Interesting dialogue on several writer blogs lately about the difficulty of giving mid-career writing advice.  While I haven’t quite reached mid-career, I’ve certainly moved far beyond what a “new writer’s” group or website can provide me. The consensus so far seems to be that while new writers have to all tackle the same lessons — though the order can vary — mid-career writers have specialized along their path enough that any useful advice has to be tailored to each individual situation.

One of the biggest writing hurdles I’ve been tackling lately isn’t something I’ve seen talked about much on new writer sites, but I do think is a bit more widely-spread than just my experiences:  that is, a “block” on writing that isn’t a lack or stifling of ideas or words, but simply a lack of available energy.

Most health-normative people don’t push themselves enough to their limits that they have to learn how to carefully ration daily energy, especially in American culture.  Most, in fact, don’t use all the available energy they have in potential each day.  Over time, poor health, dietary, and exercise practices will cause that available energy to drop much closer to the low daily expended amount, but that’s a training of your body just as exercise and wellness training is.

Quite a lot of the artists I’ve met regularly push themselves to (or over) their known limits, either physically, mentally, or a combination of those and more.  Whether they have chronic health issues or are engaged in more voluntary boundary-testing, I know very few artists who have managed both an internally self-challenging and whole-health-positive worldview.

I’m trying.

I was even before cancer, but much more so after. I am blessed in that my ideas never lack; I am a fount of ever-burbling ideas, many of them good ones.  I have hardly ever encountered a “writer’s block” as I traditionally understand the term, where I couldn’t find where my words had gone or was worried about where my next good idea was coming from.

But oh my, do I know chapter, verse, and line notes about how a lack of available physical energy affects one’s ability to generate creative work.

In fact, I’ve thought so much and so long on various aspects of it that I’m not quite sure where to start writing about that topic.  So I thought I’d try asking you Fearless Readers: what interests you about this topic?  Is there something you’d like to know more specifically about my encounters with creative energy drain?  Perhap a question or three will get my thoughts moving more linearly on the subject — or at least more coherently.

Now back to the word mines (in this case literally a coal mine)!

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Jul 16 2010

Week’s end links

Published by under follow the link chain

C’mon all you non-capitalists, let’s hear your rants on this one!

Coral snake antivenin about to disappear

And capitalists who want to play, take a moment and explain how the above situation is a good or necessary part of said system, since it certainly affronts my inner scientist at the least…


How to reduce dependence on air-conditioning

I have some friends who have chosen a non-A/C life here in Central TX, and while I’m not against the concept I do think the article writer was a bit idealistic on some parts and glossed over important other parts. (The toss-off line in there about how some homes designed with A/C in mind might be hard to modify safely to a non-A/C lifestyle — oh, you mean like every home in the last 50 years? — is a perfect example.  My friends succeed at their lifestyle in large part because their home was built in the 1940s and catches breezes MUCH better than our two-story model-realtor-home rental monstrosity.)

And yet, next week we’ll be working around here on ways to make our use of A/C more efficient (one of those serendipitous timing things where I made the chore decision and then half-a-day later found this article), thanks to a hideous electric bill last month.  Not surprising, since adding a new person to a household always causes hiccups and shifts during the transition period.

What do you do to keep the heat down — especially you poor non-A/Ced Northern folk dealing with a dangerous heat wave this year?  (Oh by the way, Texas has had one of the most mild summers in the past decade — mid-80s in July, what madness!)


(from Jay Lake’s blog)

Foreign bank re-thinks lending strategies while squashing stereotypes

As far as I’m concerned, they can’t expand fast enough.  Go, Grameen!

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Jul 09 2010

Weekend links are back!

Published by under follow the link chain

The Tesla Project (for kids) — this is where we’ll be tomorrow afternoon, anyone else with kiddos want to join us?  Hope to see you there!

Learn about Drowning Signs — anyone who swims or sails should read this, drowning doesn’t look in real life like it does on TV

Lusty Literati Reading Series — I’ll be reading a short story of mine for this group on September 14th, time and place details will be announced closer to the event date

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Jul 07 2010

routine interruptions

Not much writing at all the past three weeks as we adjust to a new family member (which is going splendidly by the way, about as well as could possibly be expected given circumstances), but have either 3 or 4 short stories burbling in the backbrain waiting for keyboard time.  Have caught up on some research reading, at least.  Quite enjoying being a full-time mom, I’m as good at it as you might have guessed, for those who know me.  The next few weeks’ project is to figure out how to more successfully integrate full-time mom-ness with full-time writerlyness.  Since they both use a large amount of daily energy, I’d love to hear from those of you who have successfully juggled this if you have nuggets of wisdom to pass along.  I’m trying to integrate all this as non-neurotically as possible, so I still have to sleep, eat, participate in various relationships, and otherwise take care of me as needed.

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