What’s Up Wednesday, weary of winter…

February 19, 2014

What’s Up Wednesday¬†is a weekly blogfest to share the answers to a few simple questions… Join us!

ROCKETBORDERWhat I’m reading:

Still listening to great stories from Escape Artists and a couple of Audible books, including ‘Excession’ from the Culture series. In print, I’ve been reading more of “That Touch of Magic” by Lucy March, “Knot Gneiss” by Piers Anthony, and “Secret Circle: The Captive” by LJ Smith.

What I’m writing:

Well, I did some last-minute revisions to my Kitchen Scale stuff and sent it off to apply to Kij Johnson’s novel workshop, and I wrote a 5000+ word fantasy/comedy/heist story for the Codex ‘Mega Weekend Warrior’ contest over the weekend. Now I think I’m going to focus on critiquing other people’s writing for a little.

What inspires me right now:

Mary Chapin Carpenter lyrics! Women destroying all kinds of genres. ūüėČ Jesse Tyler Ferguson — I’ve been watching both ‘Modern Family’ and ‘The Class’, and it’s been cool comparing his performances in two very different comedic roles over nearly eight years.

What else I’ve been up to:

Went to a write-in over the weekend with some local writers. Tried to get a family gathering organized for Family Day here in Ontario, but it didn’t come through, so I ended up working from home for a good chunk of the holiday, so I can get the time back later. Getting ready to move the day job to a new office. Riding the bus in to work as much as I can, so that somebody else has to deal with the winter driving.

What about you? Click here to join the hop or check in with some other great writers.

Late IWSG: procrastination and February blahs

February 6, 2014

First, sorry that this is late. I’ve actually been having some issues about juggling ‘What’s up Wednesday’ and the IWSG the past few months, since they both fall on Wednesdays. I don’t want to skip either, but I don’t like blogging twice in the same day or trying to combine two topics in the same post, so… what can ya do?

So, yeah. Insecure Writer’s Support Group. I knew what I had to focus on this week, and next week. Time’s running out for applying to Kij Johnson’s novel workshop, I got some great feedback on my synopsis from Team Ambitious, so… I mucked around, watched television, and didn’t really tackle it until this evening.

I’m not quite sure why I couldn’t rise above procrastination. This winter has been a bit tough on me, energy-wise. I can keep on with the day-to-day, and I’m reading like nobody’s business, but actually getting stuff written has been harder. Also, the feedback that my critiquers sent out was rich enough in detail to be a little overwhelming, and this was the first time in months that we weren’t able to swing a Google Hangout for critiques. So I didn’t have the little ceremony of the virtual critique circle to help me come to terms with the response, just a few files in my email. Maybe it took me this long to come to terms subconsciously with what I absorbed when I skimmed through the files, and that’s something I had to do before I could tackle the work consciously. (Looks back and forth shiftily.) Yeah, that’s exactly what happened.

But at least I’m making progress now.

Who’s afraid of the blank page?

January 4, 2014

Hey everybody. Hope you had great holidays and that the new year is starting off bright! I’m doing okay up here, though I’m already tired of the wintry weather in Ontario.

Just wanted to say something about an email that I got weeks ago from Writers of the Future, with a link to an article about fear of the blank page. And I realized that, though I have a lot of fears and insecurities about writing, that isn’t one of them anymore. I can get worried that I have nothing new to say, or that I won’t be able to do justice to a particular story idea. But I don’t really associate either of them with a fresh digital document. (If we’re talking about a physical blank page, then I just get angry at the notion of having to write in longhand, but that’s a different topic that I’ve already covered.)

But the blank ‘page’ on my computer screen is always something I associate with the pure joy of creativity and I usually can hardly wait to rush in, start typing and fill it up–and then hesitate after a few paragraphs when I realize I have no idea where I’m actually going, now that I’ve started writing. I’m not sure how far back in my writing history that goes. Possibly, like a lot of my writing habits, it started to gel when I was cranking out Buffy the Vampire Slayer fanfic in university.

So, what about you? Do you have the blank page fear? If you’re a writer, how do you tackle it?

Air Conditioner day comes early!

May 16, 2013

As I’ve mentioned before, one of the awkward things about my apartment is that it heats up really quickly in the summer. I’ve got a good window air conditioner in the kitchen, and I keep it in there year round, because the windows make it a pain to take it out and back in with the changing of the seasons. But because being exposed to the winter weather is a bit tough on an AC unit, I get Don, my ‘Air Conditioner guy’ to come and give it a cleaning and a checkup every May before I fire it up.

I really like having an AC guy. ūüėČ

It wasn’t really easy to figure out when I should call Don this year. We had a bit of a heat wave in early May, hot enough that I turned off the gas pilot light, and then a sharp cold snap this weekend, with overnight frost. But the cold weather had definitely passed by yesterday, so I gave Don a ring.

I thought I was going to have to work from home tomorrow morning, but he left me a voice mail this morning asking about this evening, and I was able to rearrange my schedule. Hopefully I’ll have cold air before I go to bed tonight! And a good thing too. My kitchen was up at 27C by the time I’d finished washing up the dishes. Not incredibly hot, but not exactly comfy either.

An eventful day of snow and driving

December 29, 2012

Winter has definitely settled in on Hamilton over the last few days, and I’ve been learning quite a few things about winter driving that you don’t learn until you have your own car in the winter. Like how important it is to have a snow shovel, especially when you live in an apartment building and park your car in the open lot out back.

I went to the local mall this morning, being careful to brush the car off very carefully before – luckily there wasn’t enough snow that I needed to actually dig it out. Walked around the mall enough to get my exercise for the day, picked up my groceries, got back to the car, brushed it off again. Turned on the ignition, wiped off the windows, noticed that there was some ice on the back windshield that I hadn’t brushed off, so I grabbed the scraper/brush, got out again, took a few seconds to go scrapy scrapy…

and the door wouldn’t let me back in. I was locked out of the car, with the engine running, my groceries sitting in the front seat with the heat going.

Luckily, I had a cell phone in my jacket pocket, and I was able to call CAA. It was a long wait for the guy to show up, brushing my car off again every fifteen minutes or so, but finally he showed at the mall entrance, followed me to my car, with the wipers still going every so often, and pulled out the tricks of the trade. One little doo-hickey that inflated itself with air to pull the passenger side door open, just a little up near the window. A metal wedge to help keep the door propped open just that crack, And a slightly flexible angled bar, which he stuck in through the crack in order to pull the unlock switch.

It took him about half a dozen tries – he kept complaining that the door was unlocking and then relocking itself – but finally the door was open. I dived across, unlocked the driver’s side door, pulled the keys out of the ignition, and then hurried around to get in the driver’s seat. As soon as the tow truck pulled out, I hurried for home to put the meat, the eggs, and the frozen potatoes into the appropriate cold storage.

Later, I drove over to my Mom’s place, to help her get packed and move out of the condo. The drive down the main streets was fine, but once again, the visitor’s parking lot was full. (This happened on Christmas Day, and we ended up parking my car in her spot on the P2 floor of the building while driving her car up to Kitchener.) So I drove around her neighborhood for a bit, looking for a decent parking spot on the curb, but the side streets there looked like they hadn’t been plowed since yesterday afternoon.

I tried to pull off to the side to let a truck go past me on the street behind the condo building, and got myself well and truly stuck. After the truck managed to inch past me, a friendly man out brushing off his own car came over and asked if he could help, and he was able to help push me out of the groove. I kept driving around a little while, and managed to pull into a three-hour spot down the street from the condo building.

Once the packing for the day was done, and Mom and I were heading off to dinner, there was more snow-driving fun. My three hours were almost up, and somebody had parked behind me, cutting off the easiest way of getting out of that spot without driving through a low snowdrift. My mother actually helped talk me through without having to resort to¬†shoveling¬†or salt, showing me how to ‘rock’ the car back and forth, switching between reverse and first gear, something I don’t think I’d been taught before.

I hope the roads are a little less eventful when I head down to the Pier for a modest holiday write-in tomorrow!

In the bleak midwinter

December 22, 2011

I guess we’ve passed the winter solstice sometime in the last 48 hours or so, the shortest days of the year up here in Ontario. I’ve been busy enough with work and Christmas preparations and a few other things that I haven’t paid that much attention, but the long nights are getting me down a little. It isn’t too cold yet, but that’ll probably be coming after New Year’s.

Happy Mid-winter’s day, and have a good Festivus tomorrow!

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