Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Spent yesterday afternoon in a coffee shop with two of my "students," who have published way more than I have, and who are older than my parents.
It was such an awesome time. They were kind enough to read the excerpt of my novel that I'm sending the agent, and they know next to nothing about me, so it was great to hear about what was going through their minds as they were reading.
I have a lot to think about, writing wise. Figuring out the "occasion for the story" is never my strong point, 99 times out of 100, it was because I had a deadline. Now, I don't. And even if I did, that's a shitty occasion. I really have to think about it. Writing is a lot like problem solving, and in my own work, I have a hard time seeing the problems. Once I do, it's usually pretty easy for me to find the solution, and fix it, even if the only feedback I get is abstract (oh, Workshop, did you think I'd forget so soon?!), and along the lines of "putting pressure on the moment," "pushing this further," "peeling this back." Somehow, that jargon makes sense to me, and I can run with it.
But, I've never written a novel before. It's so hard to manage. I'm starting to agree more and more with James' definition of when a short story becomes a novel: when it becomes a "baggy monster."
In other news, my favorite/ brightest/ most eager HS student (not that I have favorites) is starting an independent study with me. We're reading the entire collection of Updike's edition of The Best American Short Stories of the Century and we're hoping to finish by 2011. Wheeeee!!!!
Tuesday, October 26, 2010
I always get the urge to change my hair in the fall. I'm not usually a fan of dyed/ highlighted/ permed hair, but for this, I just might change my tune. It's not much darker than my natural color, so maybe I could avoid the frizz/ roots/ fake look... or just lose my mind entirely and actually dye my hair.
PS: Could you tell this is Drew Barrymore?!
Monday, October 25, 2010
At a party. Outside, in the sunshine, wearing a flippy skirt and laughing up at the sky. Preferably in a location that requires a passport for me to get there.
News, in a nutshell:
-Travel plans firming up: Looks like I'll be in Israel for Valentine's day
-I officially have no weekends until March. Whee.
-Nearly finished piecing the top of my first quilt. Pics to follow.
Thursday, October 21, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Monday, October 18, 2010
Positively buzzing after tonight's reading.
Yiyun Li, writer extraordinaire, who I was lucky enough to study under, who taught me a couple hard lessons about fiction, read tonight at the independent bookstore down the street.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010
Tuesday, October 12, 2010
In my yoga class, every week the class begins with a dedication (this week, it's humility) and then we're all supposed to think about our own dedications as well.
So, mine is balance, for a few reasons:
1) I hurt my shoulder Sunday night in a failed attempt at the Scorpion pose (and E really doesn't know how to spot), and
2) Life is feeling both really amazing and incredibly crappy right now.
For the following reasons:
1) I just signed six new students, which significantly ups our income and gives me more faith in myself as an educator and a business woman,
2) I am polishing the first 50 pages of my manuscript to give to an agent next week, and
3) Because of #1, I no longer am panicking about my career choice and have the luxury of time to really think things over. Also, because I'm no longer panicking, I'm no longer a walking ball of stress snapping at E over things like cupboards left open or happy hours scheduled without my explicit consent and a signed contract.
4) My yoga teacher worked out an arrangement where I get to practice as much as I want for free (normally it's $18 a class, homie don't play that game) and I'm feeling really good and strong and I'm able to do things now that I couldn't do a month ago.
But, some of that is balanced by this:
5) Nephew is having serious behavior problems at school. Sister switched him to a new school and thinks that will solve the problem, meanwhile I am stressing about a situation I have no control over and questioning decisions that are not mine to make.
6) Our weekends are basically non-existent until March because E has class on Saturdays, and because of this, I picked up more weekend students (see item #1).
7) I am feeling too far from home and like I'm not being there for my sister and the kids when I need to be.
8) I am really wrestling with this book and I have spent so much time with it that I can't tell the crap from the gems and I want to get another pair of eyes on it but a pair of eyes is hard to find because I need to find someone who a) knows nothing about my real life and therefore cannot fill in the blanks of my crappy writing with any sense of my autobiography, b) knows a thing or two about how to fix a MS, and c) has the time and energy to seriously look at 50 pages now and 175 in a month or so.
So, yes. This week, balance. The kind that involves feet up a wall and not falling on a shoulder, and the kind that involves putting energy toward things in my sphere of influence, and not wasting energy on things beyond my control or things that should be beyond my control, and are not.
Monday, October 4, 2010
Hunched over yards and yards of colorful fabric, upstairs. Tea on the windowsill, kitties on the futon. Patsy Cline on low.
But I'm downstairs, working on a cover letter. Grrr.
But, I wanted to share some of my current dilemma:
At the beginning of the summer, I started my first "quilt." I figured it would be like a first novel, a learning experience where the first one is guaranteed to suck, and you either have to just get the first one out of the way and move on, or spend a decade perfecting the first one.
I figured I'd just get this quilt out of the way. So I chose colors with reckless abandon, with no one in particular in mind. I figured it could be a lap quilt, or a baby quilt for my next niece or nephew. I firmly decided to just learn on this quilt, and not be upset if it didn't turn out perfectly.
I also resolved to actually iron the fabric. Quilting, turns out, is really mostly ironing.
So, I spent a few weeks tooling around on the machine. Here's what I got:
Problem is, now I love it. And I'm terrified to touch it.
It's time to start piecing the blocks together, and sewing borders and backing fabric. I have three fabrics I'm going to use, but I'm not sure which should be the inner border, and which should be the outer border.
Close up of my dilemma:
I'm thinking the flowery blue one should be the backing, because it's a tad girly to be next to the orange one. So then the question becomes, should it be an orange inner border (touching the blocks) and a blue outer border? Or vice verse?