Les Semaines

July 17, 2005

what I'm thinking and doing § what I'm listening to § what I'm reading
what I'm writing § retrospective: old journal

 §

Fourth Week of Clarion West 2005

I hit the wall this week. Hard.

I was So Tired. Could not lift body from love seat. Had trouble raising my voice asking Jim to feel sorry for me.

So annoying.

However, the students, thanks to the goddess Connie Willis, survived Week Four just fine thank you, despite their administrators' exhaustion and despite some difficult family complications. So this year the Week Four things were external, rather than internal. Not to say that the week was easy for them, but at least they got their work done, had a terrific time with Connie, who focused on plot, helping them think a little more consciously about raising the stakes, reversals, tension, etc. etc.

The yearly party at Astrid and Greg Bear's house was quite wonderful (they are so generous and gracious to do this every year) and it always feels so terrific to get out of the city, even though their neighbourhood gets more suburban every year. It still isn't city. Greg gave a good talk about the state of it all to the students and gave me an image of tiny coal miners in the back of my brain toiling to write my stories. He pointed out it wasn't a good idea to criticize them, nor to make them toil in mines not of their own devising. The coal mine part is mine, the rest his.

I managed to eek squeak out out my promised 3,000 words.

I spent Monday drifting through the Woodland Park Zoo with Devin's visiting mother, and we went out to coffee and had dinner with the two of them. Most of the animals at the zoo were in hiding but it still was lovely to be there, walking through bits of rain and butterflies and birds.

Had two lovely dinners with Connie. She's such a delight, so smart, and damn it was great to see someone truly riled up about Rove and the Plame case.

Jim has been doing many dishes. He won't have to apply for sainthood, it will be thrust upon him.

Words being in short supply in my wee brain, I will stop taking all the coal-miners' oxygen and give them a rest.

Good night.

Week Five is beginning: we're on the home stretch.

last week's thinking and doing § next week's thinking and doing

Listening

This week I wasn't even listening to myself.

last week's listening § next week's listening

Reading

Ellen Steiber's A Rumor of Gems was an utterly delightful fantasy. Set in a riverside city rather like New Orleans, it concerns a woman who is determined not to let emotions interfere with a healthy sex life, a kind of guardian who cannot help but spill gems all over the city, a trickster fox-human, multiple capricious (and non-capricious) gods, a hidden mountain city, and a tiny, kind but willful emerald dragon. What's not to like? My only complaint is that there's a romance that plays out just too quickly. This was inventive and fun, and I really liked the characters.

Marianne Curley's young adult series The Guardians of Time trilogy, consisting of The Named, The Dark, and The Key, is a quick read. In it a group of teenagers in a small town find themselves part of a secret group of people and being (some are not human) who are trying to stop and evil goddess and her forces of chaos from disrupting time and send the world into horrible darkness. The teenagers seem pretty real, but their situation just a little too artificial, though there are some terrific moments. I thought I would like this more than I did, feeling that the characters' missions are a little too easy and determined, and while they had to struggle for things the author telegraphed a little too much to the reader so I ended up feeling that the characters were a little slow to figure some things out, while other things happened so quickly I wasn't sure exactly how they happened. I liked The Named better the first time I read it in January 2003.

last week's reading § next week's reading

Writing

Dear Write-a-thon sponsors--

I hit the wall this week. Exhaustion set in, and all I could do was tinker. I tinkered in a couple of hundred words here and there and just stalled out. This morning I went on my delayed-for-one-day coffee shop writing session with my friend and finally was able to get rolling again. Came home, rolled out a few more hundred. Went out to introduce the new Clarion West instructor to the students, then came back and the last few hundred words slowly trickled out.

Right now the novel stands at 17,879 Word words, so I wrote 3,195 words, just barely over the wire.

Our heroine just realized that the horse she is about to ride isn't quite a horse. She's still not remembering about the baby thing for now, but she hasn't been in a space where she can remember much of anything for a significant while.

I feel like I really earned this piece of strawberry rhubarb pie I'm eating.

Thanks for taking this journey with me.

--Neile

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Retrospective: old journal

Still on hiatus.

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