Tag Archives: Percy

We’re at 98% of a Flimsy First Draft

My goal was to have a first draft by the end of the month and I’m mostly there. I’m still working on it. I have a series of about five scenes that are more framework than actual draft and I am still filling those out so this is even skinnier than I would normally refer to as a first draft but I need a win so I’m giving it to myself.

I have almost two full months to get ready for first readers and I am going to need it. I struggle with all of these books in different ways which is exasperating. I want to have figured this out.

In other news, I nuked my Instagram account. This article helped me decide because this is my experience. People are posting fewer photos and more stories and often the stories are too long and I HATE that herky-jerky thing — I don’t need to know what it’s called. Also the ads are creepy — I will talk about something, like say, pizza, and then a pizza ad pops up in my timeline. We were talking about the opioid crisis at the office and then a drug ad showed up in my timeline. Creepy.

I still have a Twitter account and I reluctantly log in about 5 minutes or less a day, except Timbers games, when I spend a lot of time logged in because I like being with people sharing my joy or my pain, depending on what the team is doing.

A fig tree’s first spring leaves. There will be lots of photos of Percy.

A couple of miscellaneous notes:

New Yorker story about heirloom beans. I love everything about beans: stories about heirloom beans and other people who like beans, cooking beans, eating beans, pictures of beans, bean recipes, the bean store. I make lots of different kinds but generally we’re perfectly happy with pinto beans.

Neighbor report: woke me up again last night. *sigh*

I don’t know what’s going on with my word count meter. It was gone and then it came back and last time I checked it was gone again. Here’s a different one:

66254 / 75000 words. 88%

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Little Black Backpack

This is Percy, all piled with leaves to keep him warm. I don’t know why Bob named our fig tree (is it really a fig tree when it’s this small?) but now I drive up and I think, poor Percy is just some sad little sticks.

One of the good things about driving home from the coast was I got to drive along Highway 101 between Eureka and Crescent City which means I had some beautiful ocean views and drove through the redwoods. I know the world is filled with amazing beautiful things and places but there are few places or things that can compete with the redwoods in NW California. One of my very favorite places to be.

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I made an off-hand remark a couple of days ago that I was considering giving up all non-essential Internet for the month of January. I can’t really give it up completely because I use it for work and streaming exercise classes and certain kinds of research and apps for writing.

The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I have unsubscribed from almost everything. I cleaned out my feed reader and left only friends and work related. I took Instagram and Twitter off my phone. I’m keeping a list of what’s allowed and what’s not. I am making an exception for Timbers and NCAA gymnastics — which starts NEXT WEEKEND. Here’s a link to my case for watching NCAA gymnastics.

Bob asked what I was going to be doing to fill the void I was creating and I’m like: getting my brain back. I let myself get so distracted. Hopefully I will do more reading and writing and learn new stuff.

My brand new backpack, which is not little or black. Did I ever write about what a hassle it is to find a new backpack? I started looking two years ago but it was like looking for a car with all the different kinds and configurations. Last year I found one to buy — it was nothing special but had nice colors and would carry my crap to and from the office every day and was reasonably priced. But the first three comments said: don’t even think about using this backpack in the rain.

Clearly, that wouldn’t do.

Then I started looking at waterproof backpacks which weren’t pretty and said things like, “Mt. Everest compliant.” I need to keep my stuff dry while I walk from the bus to the office. I don’t need to keep it dry in a monsoon.

Finally I found one I liked and bookmarked it and when I went back the company was out of business.

Then I found this one and it was not cheap but I figured, I have a big girl job, I can treat myself to a nice backpack that I will use and enjoy every day. So I bought it immediately, months ago. I opened the box to make sure it was the right thing, then I gave it to Bob to give to me for Xmas. I have been counting down ever since.

I can’t wait to use it. It’s from Waterfield. I bought several laptop sleeves and a laptop bag from them. I have never been disappointed.

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This post is kinda all over the place but I will conclude with some podcasts I listened to while doing so much driving lately.

My favorite is Gymcastic which is for gymnastics nerds. I love the hosts – they are shameless fan nerds, they are extremely knowledgable, and they are funny but have covered the criminal abuse case with dignity.

My Dad Wrote a Porno — I feel like I might have mentioned this one. SO SO FUNNY. I haven’t listened consecutively but you can drop into any episode and get a good laugh.

My friend Tina does a podcast Toasted Cake which is spec flash fiction. I like that the episodes are short so if the story doesn’t work for me, it’s over quick, and I get to hear so many different writers.

I especially like long car rides for listening to writing podcasts because during my regular life if I have time, I’d rather be writing than listening to a podcast.

I like Writing Excuses because they keep it to 15 minutes and almost always hit something interesting even if the topic isn’t something related to what I’m doing.

Finally, I recommend with reservations, Narrative First. This one discusses stories using Dramatica which is story theory that I love. It is not for everyone. It takes some effort to learn. Narrative First works hard to make it more accessible but it isn’t something you study over the weekend and then get. Recommended only for deep story study nerds.

I will try to post once a week going into the new year. I’m still getting my bearings on my manuscript after my trip down south. As soon as I get a grip, I will start posting my word counts. I’m way behind where I want to be but I think I’m further along than I realize.

Happy New Year.

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I’ll Take that Bag for You

I spotted this when we were having all the fires and ash everywhere. I think this is a raccoon print. I think our yard is on the raccoon circuit. We spot them sometimes if we’re up really early.

Confession: I’m writing most of these posts in bursts and then scheduling for the different days. Sorry — I just can’t reliably post every day.

I am writing this almost the same day as I’m posting.

I finally got outside and did a bunch of raking. I put the leaves in the garden areas where I want to keep the cats out. I piled leaves around Percy (fig tree that is now three sticks and no leaves) and the blueberries. The lady at the nursery said we didn’t need to worry but landscaper Vu thought we should pile him with leaves.

The garden is about 90% put to bed. I yanked the last tomato plant and harvested any tomatoes I thought might have a chance. I found a couple pounds of carrots and a million pounds of beets out there. Oh, and potatoes.
There are always potatoes.

Everything has been cleaned and prepped. Next weekend I hope to make borscht and do a quick refrigerator pickled beets.

And I’m doing my Thanksgiving menu — this always sneaks up on me. It’s summer. Summer winds down. Then it’s the holidays.

I have been searching for a new backpack. It’s like buying a car. So many kinds and options. I found one I liked but the first three reviews all said it was no good in the rain. So then I tried filtering by rain-proof backpacks and found all these ugly bags for bike messengers. Then I found the perfect backpack and bookmarked to buy later and when I checked the store was closed. Finally, I checked Waterfield where I have purchased a fantastic laptop bag plus three laptop sleeves. It was a spendy backpack but I treated myself. I admired it when it arrived then I handed it to Bob to give to me for Xmas.

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Remember When Banking Was Harder?

This is Percy the Desert King fig tree, year one. It’s going to be so sad when he’s just a couple of little sticks with no leaves.

I’ve been complaining about how technology makes me want to pull my hair out but remember the olden days of banking?

I recently received a letter from my bank telling me that my branch was closing and they would be “moving my account” to another branch.

I haven’t been in that branch, on the Washington side of the river, since we opened the account. I do about 99% of my in branch banking in Portland at one of two branches that are an easy walk from my office.

But remember when you had to do business with your branch? And had to move branches when you moved? And doing stuff out of state was giant pain in the hoohaw?

I remember waiting in a long line on Friday afternoons when I got my paycheck from Jack-in-the-Box to get cash for the weekend. I was only allowed to work 19 hours a week while I was in school and I earned $3.10 an hour. After taxes, what was my paycheck? $90 for two weeks’ work? I have some really old check registers somewhere, I could probably figure it out.

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