Thursday, May 28, 2009

New Beginnings

I broke down and started Simply Sara yesterday, partly out of a fit of boredom. Have to say, though, starting another novel at the moment feels like getting a positive pregnancy test six weeks after delivery.

Not that I've had that experience, but I'm currently under the impression that novels are like babies. The gestation process, at the moment, takes about the same length of time. There's a similar amount of commitment involved. Now that I'm starting another book, a part of me is shouting inside, "Not yet! I'm not ready for another one!"

The trick is that I hate valuing my life depending on my word count for the day, but if I haven't been writing, I really don't know what to do. I feel like I'm floating around without accomplishing anything concrete. For better or for worse, there's no arguing with the concreteness of the word count, even if it is just a number on my computer screen.

Enough complaining. I started it. This book is funny because I kind of wanted to kick it off right where the last one left off, except that it's from Sara's perspective. I'm not a fan of having to restate who and what everyone is, but it is one of those necessary fiction evils because readers are legally allowed to read the second book first.

I'm waiting for the delight of the beginning of the book to set in. This is usually my favorite part; the options are nearly unlimited, the characters unexplored. And I really like some of the characters in this one, so the beginning euphoria should set in shortly.

Hm. I'm hungry.

(Note: over the next five minutes I contemplated the reality of my emptyish cupboards and the sadness over being out of oatmeal, before I realized that I wasn't entirely out of oatmeal and had just enough for a petit yet satisfying serving. Made the oatmeal, ate, and moved on.)

I'm reading Diane Abu-Jaber's "Crescent" at the moment and really enjoying it. Hoping for better luck with it than "The Last Dickens," which I could not get through with anything resembling speed. I began to think I just didn't read as fast as I used to, then I polished off Sandra Byrd's "Bon Appetit" in two days. "Crescent" is about a chef in a Lebanese restaurant in LA, so I have high hopes for completion, mainly because it involves food. I like food. I love reading about food.

Oh! Happy news! I'm teaching a class for the February OCW day-conference. Registration isn't open yet, but I'll post when it is. The best part about the whole thing is that Plain Jayne should be very much in print by then, so I'll have books available to sell while I'm teaching about creating ensemble casts for novels.

Still waiting for the book euphoria. Any minute now...

Monday, May 11, 2009

Catching Up

I haven't been very good about blogging lately. At all. And that's really sad, because I had all these beautiful ideas about how I would do things differently this month and blog about the experiences, and now the month's a third over.


First, and most importlantly, I turned in Plain Jayne. The bolt of fabric has been wound up and handed off.

Second, my editor likes it. She laughed. And she laughed at jokes I thought I might be asked to omit. So that's all very, very happy.

Third, without a book, I don't know what to do with myself, and throwing myself into tidying the apartment doesn't have the appeal you might think. Amazingly enough.

I have started strategizing about Simply Sara. Not quite writing yet, but I'm alright with that. I am enjoying not sharing my head with anyone else at the moment.

Here are some of the NEW and/or DIFFERENT things I've tried in the last month -

1. To celebrate the turning-in of the book, Danny and I went to Mazzi's on a date. It's kind of a Eugene classic, but I hadn't gone in my sentient adult life. We really enjoyed it, and especially our table next to the (fake) fireplace.

2. We've watched In Bruges, Rachel Getting Married, and Star Trek. We're also a disk and an episode away from watching all five seasons of House, M.D., which I'm quite addicted to. Sarcasm? Cynicism? Guitar kidnapping? So there.

3. I'm learning new piano music. I realized a few months ago I've been playing the same pieces since school, mainly because I haven't had time or piano access to learn anything new. Now I'm working on a few songs and really enjoying it.

4. While I haven't tried any new recipes (kinda ran out after last month), I did try a new technique. I knew the traditional Italian Ragu method called for cooking the meat with milk after it's browned. I tried it with sausage before I added the prepackaged sauce - wow! The milk tenderizes the meat, creating a really yummy sauce. I did get a really yummy-sounding new recipe from my friend Aimee today, so more on that later.

5. I'm drinking more water. Hydration is a happy thing.

So far, haven't found any fabric I've liked for throw pillows. But I'm hopeful that I'll find something in the coming months. With Sara (my character, not a real person) being a seamstress, I'm really looking forward to improving my almost-nonexistant sewing skills.

And let's hope I write another blog by the end of the month!