Keeping My Head Down

Though not in the sand.

THE DAY

Wow, it’s been DAYS since I last wrote here.  What, about six days?  That feels like forever.  I guess I’ve just been focusing on keeping my head down and working.  There were a couple days when I didn’t have much time for work–Saturday, I think, because we were invited over to a friend’s place and I futzed for hours that morning, trying to get something going–and one where I didn’t feel all that well (s/p a medical thing).  Otherwise, I’ve pretty much just been writing every day and not really paying attention to anything else.  Fretting over the yard or a privacy fence or whatever . . . it’s just a waste of energy. Nothing will be done any faster if I worry about it, and no one will respond more quickly (if at all) if I’m on the phone more often.

Or maybe I’ve reached critical mass where I just don’t care all that much about extraneous garbage.  Right now, I have to write.  I have to get a book out.  Screw everything else.

To that end, I’ve hammering and hammering and hammering on niggling plot points.  The husband is trying to be helpful, but when he asks if I’m working from outline, I evade or just say no.  I had an outline; it didn’t work; I don’t have to the patience to try one again, not now.  Just write and then loop back and write again and loop back . . . you know, that whole writing into the dark thing.  I still don’t think it’s more efficient, especially when I overwrite to explain something to myself and then cut it all out the next day or just retain snippets.  But whatever.  It’s what I’m doing now.

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000                 Day 23-26: 9450
Day 2: 1200                 Day 27: (novella) 2000
Day 3: 1800                 Day 28: 2500
Day 4: 1350                 Day 29-32: 8850
Day 5: 1000                 Day 33: 3400
Day 6: 2000                LONDON HIATUS (13 days)
Day 7-10: ~4500        Day 34: 3000
Day 11-12: ~5000       Day 35-39: 9,800
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450
Day 18-19: 4500
Day 20-22: 5220

Blog Post: 700
***
What I’m Watching:
Back to Dr. Who. Finished Season 5, started Season 6.  It’s starting to grow on me like a fungus.  The show has its immensely lame and silly moments, but I do like Matt Smith as the Doctor, so I’m willing to stick with it for him.  (He’s also going to be in an upcoming movie, Patient Zero, that I’ll certainly see.)  I had this discussion today with a FB friend about the series in general.  I’m not such a fan of the whole Doctor changing every few years bit.  I tend to get attached to people more than the actual overarching story.  (Which is why DS9 and Enterprise never did anything for me; I didn’t care that they were Star Trek.  What I cared about were the characters.  If I could find one to like or an interaction I liked, I’d stick with it.  I almost ditched TNG and pretty much had stopped watching it until I just happened to flip to it one evening when they just happened to do Part I of The Best of Both Worlds.  Then, all of a sudden, I had people I cared about and I watched until it got silly and lame again, somewhere around Season 6.  That’s when it seemed to turn into Peyton Place.  Personally, I didn’t get the whole Worf-Troi thing, and I never much cared for her as a character.  So that drama did nothing for me.)

Anyway, the Who story…I don’t know if I much care about that.  I’m willing to follow this Doctor for now, but whether that will translate into an attachment to other Doctors or different Companions . . . who knows?

Also finished out Humans (I might have posted on that already) and just found out that The Last Ship, one of my summer faves, is back on.  Got to catch up in between Whos.
***
What I’m Reading:
was reading The Shining Girls, and I guess I still am but got sidetracked on a pretty interesting book about leadership and mental illness (A First-Rate Madness).  One nice thing about a vacation: you do get in more reading.  Which I really ought to do more of as a regular habit.  It’s how writers get ideas.
***
What I’m Listening to:
I have been bad.

Back from the UK

Although how much longer it will remain the UK is anyone’s guess.

THE DAY

Nice time in Britain.  Got some writing done on the plane over and a touch more while there, but we were busy traveling out of London most days (saw Windsor, Winchester, Salisbury, Chartwell, and St. Albans).  We only spent two days in London proper; that first day, we stumbled around like zombies (though we did see a fantastic exhibit at the British Museum on two Egyptian cities discovered submerged in the Mediterranean and another glorious exhibit on Scottish painters at the Queen’s Gallery).  The other day was a Tuesday where we went to the new Tate (one word: rubbish) and then wandered back across the Millennium Bridge toward St. Paul’s.  Can you believe that I’ve been to London four or five times and STILL haven’t seen the inside of this cathedral?  Well, I didn’t get a chance this time either because the husband had a meeting with the folks of Genome England.  So it was off to the Museum of London (nice exhibit on artifacts from Shakespeare’s time) and tea while he did his thing.  Then we all met up again, went out for a beer and then dinner where we talked all sorts of things, including Brexit which hadn’t happened yet.  The two guys I met thought Brexit didn’t have a prayer; the young woman thought it did–and she turned out to be right.  Actually, we left the day of the vote.  The cynical part of me thinks, Drat, if I’d stayed a little longer, think of how much more bang I’d have gotten for my buck.  But I really think this is a mistake on so very many levels, and if the average Briton thinks he’ll be better off–well, he’s got another thing coming.  An economist-friend of mine thinks social programs are going to be hammered.

Coming back wasn’t awful in the time-difference sense, though it was soul-crushing: the heat, the place, the whole package.  Setting the house to rights took a day and a half; Sunday, I frittered.  Monday, I’d planned to start up on the book again only to be sidetracked by a medical thing.  (It’s since turned out to be nothing, but my whole day did get blasted to hell.)  So, started in today; had to overcome some major insecurity and a nasty little voice in my head telling me that I’m really no good at writing at all.

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000                 Day 23-26: 9450
Day 2: 1200                 Day 27: (novella) 2000
Day 3: 1800                 Day 28: 2500
Day 4: 1350                 Day 29-32: 8850
Day 5: 1000                 Day 33: 3400
Day 6: 2000                LONDON HIATUS (13 days)
Day 7-10: ~4500        Day 34: 3000
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450
Day 18-19: 4500
Day 20-22: 5220

Blog Post: 800
***
What I’m Watching:
Here, I’d gone to all this trouble and downloaded a bunch of WHO only to end up watching in-flight movies.  Saw 10 Cloverfield Lane which was FABULOUS on the way out (the rest of the time I wrote and read.

On the flight back, saw 13 Hours, which was surprisingly effective despite the jingoism.  Also watched The 33 which was also pretty good.

Now that I’m back, I’ve finished Humans (excellent) and watched the pilot for The Last Tycoon.  Of all the Amazon pilots, it was the only one that grabbed me; it’s a Fitzgerald book I’ve not read and pretty interesting.  Let’s hope they make a series out of it.

Also catching up on Motive.  I think there’s one more episode to go for this season.
***
What I’m Reading:
Got about two-thirds of the way through End of Watch, and I’m sorry, but I’m so flipping bored I can’t continue.  I thought Finders Keepers was only so-so and frankly, the Bill Hodges character didn’t need to be in the mix at all; he was an afterthought.  EoW is just flat-out boring, predictable, and repetitive, and I’m like…King, I KNOW you can do better than this.  So I put the book aside and picked up another few books in London.

Finished Peter James’s The House on Cold Hill which was . . . fitfully entertaining.  I thought the book was mostly filler (honestly, did it matter what the guy listened to on the radio or had for lunch–over and over again?), with the only page-turning parts coming at the very end (which I also saw coming a mile away).  Still, not horrible and I didn’t chuck the book.

Also started The Shining Girls by Lauren Beukes.  It’s . . . okay.  Not horrible, not great.  It’s interesting enough that I’ll stick with it awhile and see.  Also started it on audio to speed things up a bit.
***
What I’m Listening to:
As above, The Shining Girls but also Extreme Prey, though I put it aside to dive into SGs (though not because it’s bad; it’s just that the subject matter isn’t close enough to what I’m writing that I want to risk messing up my head).

Quickie

No, not that.  Shame on you.

THE DAY

A very brief entry because I’m packing.  I will say this: I hate packing.  I don’t really like travel all that much either.  I have a horrible leaving the house and letting go.  If I am supposed to be on vacation, I need someone to tell me.  Usually, if I do relax, it’s about four or five days into the thing–just in time for me to come home.  Which is fine; neither of us can stay away from work for longer than a week or ten days. We’re just not built that way.

Anyway, worked FRUITLESSLY for the morning.  Saw construction people.  Saw cat people.  Organized things to leave.  Exercised.

Then, when it was clear that I couldn’t organize one more damned thing, I sat down this evening and pounded out words.  They are by no means polished, and in some ways, they read more like outline than a real chapter, but it doesn’t matter.  I got words down and it’s hard to shape something out of nothing.

Going to try an experiment this time away, too.  Instead of an iPad or the Surface (both are a little big and heavy), I’m going to try and minimize my electronics because I would surely bring a Paperwhite along, too, and the phone.  This time, I’m bringing a Kindle Fire onto which I’ve loaded a documents and notes app and a bluetooth keyboard.  Together, they still don’t weigh quite as much as the iPad with its Snugg keyboard, and I’d like to minimize on weight.  This way, I can still read, download a couple videos for the plane, and–hopefully–get work done, too.  We’re talking a long plane ride.

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000                 Day 23-26: 9450
Day 2: 1200                 Day 27: (novella) 2000
Day 3: 1800                 Day 28: 2500
Day 4: 1350                 Day 29-32: 8850
Day 5: 1000                 Day 33: 3400
Day 6: 2000
Day 7-10: ~4500
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450
Day 18-19: 4500
Day 20-22: 5220

Blog Post: 400
***
What I’m Watching:
Humans.  I quite like it.  If I could download episodes, I would.  Alas, not to be.  So I’ve downloaded a bunch of Whos (the rest of Season 5, a few from Season 6, and two Christmas specials).  There will be movies on the plane, I’m sure.  Oh, and I’m supposed to be working!
***
What I’m Reading:
Finders Keepers.  It’s okay.
***
What I’m Listening to:
Finders Keepers–just to speed things along.

Been Quiet

And about to become much quieter.

THE DAY

So the last two days have been spent reevaluating just where this writing in the dark is taking me.  (Have I mentioned how much I dislike NOT working from an outline?)  I got to the point where I was writing this scene and thinking…but I don’t need this.  I should mention that it had taken me about two days of NOT getting that scene done for me to realize that.

Which, of course, made me question where I was going; if the idea I had when I started would work.

Short answer: it still does.  Long answer: I have to change how I get there.

The last day or so have been spent figuring that out (as well as doing a lot of housekeeping stuff because we’re heading out on a trip soon and I’ll be VERY quiet for about two weeks).  Do I have it all?  No.  Do I have most of what I need?  I think so.

Is the husband militating that I should write an outline?  He is.  Will I?  Maybe so.  I have a lot of downtime on a plane, after all.  Might be worth just knuckling down and writing some barebones stuff, just to keep the ideas fresh.

Yesterday was spent thinking and jotting notes.  Today was spent packing and then freezing vegetables I won’t be able to use up before we leave.  Tomorrow, back to writing; I should be able to finish a chapter before I go.

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000                 Day 23-26: 9450
Day 2: 1200                 Day 27: (novella) 2000
Day 3: 1800                 Day 28: 2500
Day 4: 1350                  Day 29-32: 8850
Day 5: 1000
Day 6: 2000
Day 7-10: ~4500
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450
Day 18-19: 4500
Day 20-22: 5220

Blog Post: 540
***
What I’m Watching:
The last episode of this season’s The Americans.  Crap.  I hate knowing how this all ends.  Also tried getting through another Who (about Van Gogh) and just didn’t have it in me to get excited.  But I was also grumpy and, actually, yesterday, I swam, so there was no Who at all.  Today, I opted for a few episodes of Humans, the first episode of which I’d watched before, and liked.  It’s still pretty good.  Kind of … predictable?  But any excuse to watch William Hurt is a good one.
***
What I’m Reading:
Finally settling into Finders Keepers.  It’s not bad.  Not great.  Kind of silly, in a way, but since I’ll probably end up reading End of Watch, I figured I might as well.  (Not that I thought Mr. Mercedes was all that terrific; Bradley was a silly villain, and not all that believable–and of course, everyone’s problems go back to their nasty mother, right?)
***
What I’m Listening to:
Not much; news folks talking about how hard it is to interview Trump and what their responsibility ought to be.  Also the recycled stuff about Orlando, which is awful–but I agree with Obama and every other politician who’s come out to ask just what kind of nation we want to be.  I don’t care what Marco Rubio decides.  You could have indeed prevented this with tougher gun laws because then the guy would’ve had to resort to something else that might have been a lot less lethal.  The gun laws in this country have to change.

Taking Time to Appreciate an Historic Moment

Say what you want. Be as against Clinton as much as you want.  But, as a woman, I’m thrilled that a major party has finally, finally put up a woman as their presidential candidate.  Yes, I know; there’s still the convention.  But I think this is going to stand.

And it’s great.

You know, the husband did something tonight that ticked me off.  When someone came on to talk about how Clinton would mention this as an historic moment and all that, he just rolled his eyes.

Well, that rubbed me the wrong way because it just shows how many men–even ones you might care about–still don’t get it.

This is a big deal.  A woman is a big deal, and as a woman, I can tell you that I am sick and tired of men–who are frequently white and old–making the decisions for me.

So take a second and sit back and think about this because it is a first.

In other news: the book took another major turn I didn’t expect.  Principally, I wasn’t happy with one of the male characters.  He simply seemed too…pat.  Uninteresting and not terrifically complex, and if anyone’s read my books, then they know that I like complexity even (and especially) with my villains.  It shouldn’t be so easy to dislike them.  Even bad guys think they’re doing good, in their own deluded way.  (I keep wondering if this is the problem with writing into the dark, too, but it’s a little late to second-guess now.)

Oh, and I didn’t write yesterday but not want of WANTING to.  Instead, I was a model for a visiting colorist at the local salon.  My hair has been just such a disaster since I’ve come here.  No one has seemed capable figuring out how to color it, even with detailed instructions.  They just don’t get it, and on Saturday when I went in, I’d pretty much had it and said something had to change or I was going to find myself another salon.  To her credit, the stylist I’ve been seeing–who means well but just isn’t that talented and doesn’t really know or understand (a language barrier, I think)–brought in another guy who’s really interested in color and it was at his suggestion that I came back on Monday as a model.

Well–five hours later . . . yes, five hours . . . they were done with me.  I’m pretty pleased.  Let’s put it this way: anything would’ve been an improvement.  The hair’s no longer orange and red, though; it’s more red and violet, and much wilder-looking than before.  Which is fine because that was the way I used to wear it many moons ago.

Anyway, time sort of wasted and sort of not.  It’s all a matter of priorities.

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000                 Day 23-26: 9450
Day 2: 1200                 Day 27: (novella) 2000
Day 3: 1800                 Day 28: 2500
Day 4: 1350
Day 5: 1000
Day 6: 2000
Day 7-10: ~4500
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450
Day 18-19: 4500
Day 20-22: 5220

Blog Post: 720
***
What I’m Watching:
More Dr. Who, Season 5.  The two episodes I saw today were only meh.  Kind of stupid, actually (space vampires and then Amy’s big “choice”).  First off, Rory is a ferret.  I’m sorry; he just is.  So the whole episode was kind of dumb.  Like, seriously, you’re choosing a ferret over a wag with wild hair?  And while I understand that the space vampires reiterated some major themes–the silence, the cracks, the Pandorica–I just found them tedious.
***
What I’m Reading:
Inching my way through King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams.  So far, I’m completely underwhelmed.  Which is sad because I really have liked King.  Although, I will also admit that I couldn’t get very far with Finders Keepers.   I was just so very much who cares?  Having taken a peek at the blurb for End of Watch, I see that King’s abandoning what I would say is only a marginal mystery/procedural and bringing in the supernatural.  That would make sense; that’s what he does best, and maybe even he was bored.  I know I sure was.  I might give FsKs another try, if only to catch up and see if I can make the slog through EoW.  We’ll see.
***
What I’m Listening to:
Hillary Clinton talking about that glass ceiling and women and her mom.  Ladies, this is history in the making.

Having Way Too Much Fun

THE DAY

So some of that fun is with the writing and some with a bunch of Facebook folks who finally convinced me to give Dr. Who a try.

I know: trivial, right?

But here’s the thing.  We ALL need down-time.  We ALL need to find something that stokes our creative juices, gets us excited.

Now, I have resisted Dr. Who for, like, forever.  It just looked stupid.  What, a time-traveler in a police box?  Hokey aliens and silly special effects?  (I distinctly remember a very campy Who episode with an actor I know now is Tom Baker: black and white, and I do believe there was a Dalek because now that I’ve actually seen one today, I’m almost positive that’s what I saw.)  It looked dumb then; they look only slightly less silly now.  Mostly, the Daleks look like oversized salt shakers with a bad temper.

So why waste my time?

Well, beats crap out of me.  One guy suggested I start with Season 5 of the reboot, which would be the 11th Doctor, Matt Smith.  So I thought, okay, it’s on Amazon Prime; why not?

Watched the first episode.  Actually liked it.  Smith is fabulous at slapstick comedy; he knows how to be goofy and since this is an extremely campy show to begin with, he knows how to play things so you laugh with and at him.

So I had fun.  I did.  I had SO much fun I watched the next two episodes today, which is how I know about the Daleks and that “Silence will fall and the Pandorica will open.”  I’m about to figure out what Weeping Angels are.

And this is fun ENOUGH that I told the husband that, after we finish House of Cards, I’d willingly watch these again with him from the beginning so he’d know what was going on.

I know; I know; I’m the last person on the planet to get into this.  So sue me.  But I can see why people like this, I really can.  Now whether I can STICK with it–or it with me–is another matter.  We’ll see.

So, anyway…yeah, so I’m working, too.  I can tell you that I jerked awake at two this morning, thinking of all the things I must be sure to write down to add.  This is a good thing.

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000                 Day 23-26: 9450
Day 2: 1200                 Day 27: (novella) 2000
Day 3: 1800
Day 4: 1350
Day 5: 1000
Day 6: 2000
Day 7-10: ~4500
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450
Day 18-19: 4500
Day 20-22: 5220

Blog Post: 540
***
What I’m Watching:
First, The Americans (great, again).  Then Dr. Who, Season 5: Eps. 1-3 so far.
***
What I’m Reading:
What am I reading?  Oh, yeah…the first story in King’s Bazaar of Bad Dreams.  I was underwhelmed.  I wasn’t the least bit sold that this is how a kid thinks.  Still, an okay story if both predictable and a little too long (but almost all King’s stories are).  The second story was not only predictable but boring (like I flipped ahead to the end and thought, Yup, knew it).  On to the third story. Glad I got this one out of the library.
***
What I’m Listening to:
Renaissance music.  The husband came home in the middle of a Gregorian chant and asked who’d died.

A Question of Discipline

And not much happened on the writing front even though I took the Surface along.

THE DAY

I know other writers can work in hotel rooms and on the road. I’ve done this myself when I was on tour and had deadlines, things that needed to get done.  Were those productive days?  Not really.  I know some writers who actually checked themselves into hotels in order so they wouldn’t be distracted.

I’m not one of those writers.

Now, you could say that maybe I don’t apply myself; that I need to buckle down, blah, blah.  I agree, actually.  I think that’s true.  If I were by myself and in a hotel room, with no husband, nothing on the horizon except work stuff . . . then, maybe.  I think I always looked at travel days as lost days, when maybe it’s a matter of discipline that I’ve not developed yet–at least when it comes to travel.

Which is a long-winded way of saying that I got nothing done while I was away.  Oh, I opened up the Surface; I tapped out a few lines here and there while on the plane and in the coffee shop downstairs.  But concerted, concentrated work?  Forget it.  My bad; I’ll own it.

Garrison Keillor once said he writes every day unless his wife reminds him that he’s on vacation.  If you believe Stephen King, and I kinda do, he writes every day regardless.

I don’t have that kind of life.  I don’t have that kind of family that would allow for that.  But writing every day can take various forms.  If I write a page, does that count?  I think it should.

So…did I write a page on the plane?  I actually did.  I also wrote a few paragraphs on Friday and Saturday.  Then, Sunday, once I was home, I got back to work.  A rough start and when do I EVER get as far along as I’d like?  (Well, I do, under deadline.  I sense a theme here.)  But not too bad for gearing up again.

My, but my super-ego is a mother.

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000
Day 2: 1200
Day 3: 1800
Day 4: 1350
Day 5: 1000
Day 6: 2000
Day 7-10: ~4500
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450
Day 18-19: 4500
Day 20-22: 5220

Blog Post: 500
***
What I’m Watching:
Caught up with The Americans.  Watched Pawn Sacrifice, which was surprisingly good.  Even though I knew the history, I was in suspense.  Also watched half of the first episode of the new season of Wayward Pines.  Meh . . . underwhelmed.  This backstory I know, and the setup isn’t nearly as compelling this time around.  Like…I don’t care about a civil war.  Even though I’d read the books, I was much more invested the first time around, quite possibly because Matt Dillon is a much better actor than Jason Patric, who only bores me.
***
What I’m Reading:
Flowers in the Attic because I never have…although, to be frank, I don’t see what all the fuss is about.
***
What I’m Listening to:
Shockingly…nothing.

Nothing Much Doing

Other than work.

THE DAY

You know, I always have a tough time getting started again after time away, even if that time’s spent thinking about writing.  Or it might just be that what I think of as being good just doesn’t read very well once it’s on the screen.

Anyway, I wrestled with the writing virtually all day until I finally found the right tone (and, yes, predictable when I get up and go exercise; you would think I would learn to walk out the stories the way Dickens did).  So once I found the tone yesterday, it got easier to work today, and I worked pretty steadily, though there were breaks to deal with the cats (groomer came by and put very nice green toe caps on Timmy; Winnie’s claws were like miniature scimitars) and then another, longer break to run errands and go to the gym.  Back home, and then instead of emptying the dishwasher and puttering and packing because I’m headed off to Boston for the rest of the week (bluh; do not want to go but it’s one of those obligation things that I just dread and hate not getting any work done, though I’ll bring the computer because maybe I’ll be able to do something), I sat down to write some–and just finished the chapter I’d started yesterday.

So that was good.

I think the going off the rails will be fine. Weird, but . . . nu, we’re talking one of my books here.  What’s better is that I’m still interested. This is key.

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000
Day 2: 1200
Day 3: 1800
Day 4: 1350
Day 5: 1000
Day 6: 2000
Day 7-10: ~4500
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450
Day 18-19: 4500

Blog Post: 400
***
What I’m Watching:
99 Homes, and it wasn’t bad.  It kept me entertained enough during the workout.  Also began A Single Shot and then pitched that halfway through; I’d have done it sooner, but I had nothing else downloaded.  Started Pawn Sacrifice, and it is a very entertaining movie.  I’ve downloaded several others, though I doubt I’ll be watching anything for the next few days.
***
What I’m Reading:
Astonishingly, Flowers in the Attic.  I have never read this.  I don’t know if I’ll bring it along or not; got the trade paperback, so it’s a little large, but we’ll see.
***
What I’m Listening to:
Aarrgghh!  I must find something!

Going Off the Rails

Or the reservation, take your pick.

THE DAY

In brief, I worked Friday and Saturday.  Friday, I got a little bogged down with having to arrange for the husband’s birthday stuff at the last minute (not my fault, but you have to roll with these things), which meant that I crammed a lot of work into a small amount of time (about three hours).  Still, we managed to have a lovely Friday’s Cocktail, a Blackberry Gin Smash (Hendrick’s, sage, blackberries, lemon juice, and simple syrup with a splash of club soda)

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as well as Texas barbecue, which made the husband everlastingly happy.

Saturday…I wasn’t quite with it.  But I really, really needed to finish a specific chapter, so I really, really made myself sit there until I had.  Then I allowed myself to play (read: watch a movie with the husband).

But then I had a dream and woke up with a jolt this morning around six (I always wake up at about six, no matter what).  I forced myself to stay in bed for an extra half hour, thinking about what I was thinking about–which was adding something to the narrative to make the chapter I’d just done be more in line with the narrative, to make sense.

This is when you’re truly starting to go off the reservation or off the rails, whichever metaphor you prefer: when you add something that will fundamentally change part of the narrative and is something you did not foresee.  I couldn’t have outlined this, I don’t think; I’m not sure it would’ve occurred to me and Monday morning quarterbacking now is useless anyway.

But, instead of dashing off to write it, I dashed off my thoughts and decided to let it marinate a bit, see where it was going, see if I want to even do this.  I have a writer friend who swears by the answers he finds after a nap, but I am always a little leery.  What feels right in a dream or when you just wake up is often not so great when you write it all down.  (But isn’t that the case with so much?)

WRITING OUT LOUD
Stay Dead (started 5/05; Days 1-4, false start)

Day 1: 1000
Day 2: 1200
Day 3: 1800
Day 4: 1350
Day 5: 1000
Day 6: 2000
Day 7-10: ~4500
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300
Day 15-17: 4450

Blog Post: 1400
***
What I’m Watching:
House of Cards with the husband.  Also saw Deadpool, which was only fitfully entertaining and basically a waste.  (This is the role Ryan Reynolds was born to play?  OTOH, I am not a Marvel movie fan, so I’m no judge.  But I most certainly will not be seeking any other Marvel movies.  They’re just…boring and silly.)

Also saw the trailer for the new Star Trek.  On the one hand, I’m, like, dude, again?  You’re destroying the Enterprise AGAIN?  Haven’t I already seen that, like, several times?

But, OTOH, if you can look past the Marvel-cartoonish new uniforms, the film looks…well, it looks better than the last one that I only saw in bits and pieces (and still regret the minutes I’ll never get back).  So…maybe.

That last joke, though?  You could see it coming a mile away.  In fact, is it me, or is the dialogue really hackneyed?  (“Our captain will not rest until he finds us.”  Or something along those lines.  Not a fan of Zoe Seldana.  I also hear that Quinto may be calling it quits after this because he’s afraid of being type-cast.  Oh, dude, stop worrying; you’re not that good an actor.  This is, in fact, what Roddenberry essentially said when Nimoy was whining about how come he didn’t get more command-type stuff to do.  I think Roddenberry said something like your character is nothing without Kirk, but Kirk can do just fine without you.  And I’m, like, whoa.  This is all in the latest issue of Smithsonian, if you’re so inclined.)
***
What I’m Reading:
Well, after a friend said something on Facebook yesterday, I went and read several articles about the history of polling.  I’ll reproduce my Facebook post here:

“Yesterday, a friend said something interesting–about how Clinton’s the most hated Democratic nominee in history–and I thought, *Really? In HISTORY? All 240 years of American political history? REALLY?* Because take a good look at American history, and you see that there have been PLENTY of examples of candidates people really, really hated going all the way back to the mud-slinging fest that was Adams vs. Jefferson.

Now, me, personally? I don’t pay attention to polls. I listen to what people say and what they do and I pay attention to their history. The only reason I’m even going down this road is to make a distinction between two very different kinds of history, which I wouldn’t have considered if my friend hadn’t made that statement that I somehow didn’t quite believe.

See, I have a hard time with the whole “history” thing because that neglects–or rather conflates–both the history of American elections and that of the INDUSTRY of polling, which are two very different yet now interconnected beasts. As we all know or should know, polls are only as good as their sample size, demographics, the questions asked, things like that.

Read a bit about the evolution of polls, and you realize that the modern-day poll came about during the Depression and specifically because industry and corporate advertisers needed a way to connect with consumers. So they promoted the idea of “scientific” polls because they were losing money. They needed to know what people wanted and how they felt so they could cater to those interests *and* steer products to those folks *and* shift opinion. (If you want this spelled out in an entertaining way, just settle down for a few hours with this season’s HOUSE OF CARDS. It’s all about influencing the electorate by tracking people’s interests and then strategically targeting campaigns.)

So, if you are only talking about modern-day *polling* history, then my friend is correct. According to polling data from the major players (and they are all industries, folks), Clinton is the most disliked Democratic nominee in *polling* history. When they repeat this information, some news organizations use the adjective; some don’t. [For the record, Trump’s the most hated Republican nominee in polling history, but that’s beside the point.]

But, if you do care and take a look at polling done by, say, Citigroup of its industrial clients, they want Clinton because they think Clinton will be better for business in the long run. More general polls about the election would suggest that people can stomach Clinton a touch better than they can Trump, but that gap is narrow and maybe only as good as the day the results were reported because there have been no theatrical extravaganzas . . . ulp, sorry . . . *conventions*; the Dem nomination process is ongoing; and as my friend correctly pointed out, there have been no debates between the two presumptive nominees.

All I’m saying in the end, I guess, is that you need to be careful what you take as fact. Polling history is not the history of the American electorate even if the first poll of recording history in the U.S. done during an election was a local straw poll in 1824 that found that people preferred Jackson. (Since Jackson went on to win the popular vote and the election, folks thought . . . saaay . . . ) Polls and politics are industries that feed off one another, and we all know that if people hear the same thing repeated often enough–regardless of its merits or factual basis–they will incorporate that idea as being somehow true.

Memory is mutable. So are opinions. Polls were invented to see what people thought and how they feel. Polls are also products. Polls were and are used by industry to then target people to either pander to what they want or get them to change their mind.

I think it’s important to remember that.

The history of politics, modern-day polling, and corporations are intertwined, and the polling industry is big business that has just as much of a vested interest in generating and then telling you what your neighbors think (and by extension, what you ought to) in an effort to make you continue to buy–and buy into–their trusted brand.

Just saying.”
***
What I’m Listening to:
Nothing.  I’m tired of political rants and bad news.  I would turn on some Renaissance music, but instead I’m listening to birds.

All the Makings

For a disastrous day, that didn’t happen.

THE DAY

Maybe my expectations were a little lower this morning than normal since I knew I had to do a ton of errands I couldn’t put off any longer.  (Well, one was optional, but I’d already made the appointment, so…)  Anyway, the day wasn’t as bad as it could’ve been, production-wise.  Got up very early and started working right away and kept at it until I had to leave.  I also brought the Surface along so I could work if I had the chance.

As it turned out, I got that chance, and plenty.  The one appointment I’d made was with the TSA people for a TSA Pre.  To make a long and agonizing story very short, the appointments are scheduled at ten-minute intervals.  The husband went yesterday, sans appointment, heard that the wait was an hour and so went to another office in Decatur where he walked in and walked out within fifteen minutes.  True, he had to drive an hour to do this, but he still ended up ahead, compared to me.

My wait was . . . 2 1/2 hours.  HOURS.  For a 15 minute appointment that would’ve been shorter if a) the ONE employee hadn’t also been venting and then curious about my Surface and b) the fingerprint machine actually recorded, you know, FINGERPRINTS without you having to mash one hand down with the other.  If you have any bent or crooked fingers at all, you are SOL.

So that was frustrating.  I ran a couple of errands, knowing that they wouldn’t get to me for a long time.  Then I pulled out the Surface and got back to work.  Another guy there wanted to chat, and that was fine.  He was a nice guy, but he also left pissed because he was told on the phone that his military ID would be enough (his passport’s in transit.  Well, that would be no . . . and I think what upsets me is the lack of accountability here.  You can complain to the TSA, but so what?

Because of this, I also missed out on a date with a friend and had to reschedule another appointment to very late.  Did another errand.  Then I sat around to wait–and pulled out the Surface and worked some more.

All told, the day wasn’t a loss.  It was frustrating, but not a loss.

Oh, and the title has morphed again.  Titles always change.  An editor once told me that–although he was also the only editor who ever changed my titles.  OTOH, every title we batted around and agreed to was the correct one.  So he taught me something about flexibility.

If only I could be so flexible ALL the time.

WRITING OUT LOUD

Stay Dead (started 5/05)

Day 1: 1000
Day 2: 1200
Day 3: 1800
Day 4: 1350
Day 5: 1000
Day 6: 2000
Day 7-10: ~4500
Day 11-12: ~5000
Day 13: 1600
Day 14: 2300

Blog Post: 500
***
What I’m Reading:
Heart-Shaped Box.
***
What I’m Watching:
Nothing.  Swam today.
***
What I’m Listening to:
Right now, some very nice and relaxing Renaissance music.

Young Adult/Thrillers/F&SF/Romantic Suspense