Patterns

 

I had a bit of an insight on the subject of my clothes-of-other-times fascination. I was browsing a kimono website,  window shopping, and thinking that if I did  place an order, I would want the under-garments, the accessory kits, etc.  Part of attraction is found in the business of how it all goes together.

So,  I realized that what is so interesting about Victorian clothing is, in part, the layers that build it, i.e. the drawers under the chemise, the chemise under the corset, the petticoats over the corset and chemise and so forth.

All of which parallels that which is interesting about the composition of a story, in the form of layers, structure, details and the final experience of pleasure–or not–depending upon the degree of success achieved in the balancing of all of these things.

Applying all of this to the subject of story-telling will have to wait for another post; this week is going to be a busy one.

 

Nine And Some Weeks

 

I’ve counted the weeks and I’ve counted little noses and if I can finish the work which was up-ended this weekend through no fault of anyone in particular, then I am still on track to complete a story a week.

I have fantasies about them, of course.  That I’m going to put them together in a collection called 52 weeks and that each entry will be a little polished gem.  Unlikely.

There isn’t much time to polish them, for a start and some weeks are just more inspired than others. However.

That which may be achieved by putting one’s nose to the grindstone–as I am about to do when I finish this–that much, I can do.

 

 

 

Of Lacing Tapes and Petticoats and Bonnet Strings and Kings

Let me tell you something about attending ten different schools in twelve years. You can come out of it inclined to guard your privacy. You can develop an instinct that panics when you think you’ve screwed up flying under the radar of the self-appointed arbiters of fitting in.

Which is why it took me until now to post thoughts that occurred to me before Christmas.

It was a week or two before the holiday when a saleswoman looked at me and remarked–“I’ll bet you’re doing carolling.”

Since I was wearing a bronze, faux-silk, ankle-length skirt, laced boots, a black and red brocade jacket and a felted hat of decidedly bonnet-ish shape, I could understand her mistake.  However. I had to explain that I just like to dress that way.  She told me she liked it and we both went on our merry way.

About a year and a half ago I decided that it wouldn’t hurt anyone if I dressed the way I want to; I’ve hit THAT age. I suppose I could have taken the advice of a friend who told me it was time to acquire a few of those jogging/warm-up sorts of things and consider a shorter haircut.  Maybe some orthopedic looking shoes to boot.

Except that I would have just loathed it.

When I was still in grade school, I was re-drawing my paper dolls to accommodate hairpieces so that I could trace around them and draw clothes for them from costume history.  I had a doll with clothes from ancient Egypt through the latter 19th century.  As that was nearly half a century ago, I think I may safely say that I have nearly always been fascinated with clothes from every era except the one in which I find myself.

Ergo. If I should to choose to ignore mainstream expectations in the matter of my closet,–and I may as well, as I don’t have a conventional job demanding otherwise–well, I was probably the only person I know surprised that the result is a bit Neo-Victorian.

And now you know something about me that I might consider private.

More to come.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Better Late

 

I’ve been putting this off.

Some stories just spill out of you; you have the first sentence in your head and then the next and then the next until it is done. Some don’t work like that; they seem to fight being born.

This past week and a half, I’ve been working on one of the latter.  And I’ve been collecting rejection slips, two of them.

Not much happy news. So, I put off posting.

There still isn’t any happy news on the publishing front–but–I finished the story and I managed another flash. I am still one story ahead, if I am shooting for one per week.

And I found a new group to follow at Steampunk Empire–more on that later.

And that’s the news….

 

 

 

 

A Few Observations

I am a creature of habit.

Warming a can of cat food under hot water for an elderly cat with a tetchy tummy does nothing for the smell.

Cinnamon oat flax seed clusters are no substitute for nut and toffee-laced chocolate as writer’s brain food. First, but  by no means foremost, because the flax seeds will wedge in gaps your teeth didn’t know they had.  Secondly because, as inspiration goes,  it’s just sadly lacking, as in “Give me liberty, or give me a bad hair day” -grade lacking.

Teenagers will clean you out of pomegranate and blood-orange laced San Pelligrino but will leave the pompelmo–that would be grapefruit flavoured–untouched.

I am really a creature of habit. I prefer to drive the same routes and know in advance what to expect of my day so that I may do the “daily business” without much thought and think about writing instead.

Some of January’s goals,–writing a story a week, blogging more or less routinely–are coming along fine. In fact, I’m ahead by one story. And quite a bit of work is being sent out. This time though, I’m polishing the query–differently.  A little less flogging myself to do it, a lot more re-reading and considering the writing itself as I would with fiction–it’s a subtle difference, I’m not sure if I can express it exactly.

So. I did not send a query last month. However, when I do send the newest incarnation, with the re-worked beginning and end to the story, which I am convinced is the strongest work I have yet done–I will send out two of them. So there.

This week my schedule is upended and no two days are the same.

Ergo, this post is a little behind schedule.

I really am a creature of habit.

 

 

 

 

 

So Let It Be Written…

 

I have another short story for this past week. It’s about six-thousand words. I finished it under the wire; I was down sick.  I also have a rough for this week’s story, written out this morning in between packing lunches and fixing breakfasts. It looks no more than a thousand.

I started the week with an earache and tried the take-it-easy but go-about-your-routine approach. Unfortunately, my routine included scraping the ice off of my car and a forty-five minute bout of relentless stress brought on trying to get my offspring to a night class on time through no less than three unexpected construction zones. (Spoiler alert: I failed.)

Thursday I conceded defeat and took to my bed with notepad.  I didn’t get up again until Sunday.

But! The story is written.

So is this blog.

 

 

Update

I finished a second story, for the second week.  It took until Saturday though, so, not much else is getting done. I’ve started a third.

I’ve re-read background on the agent; I’ll see if I can find some authors she’s represented and read about them.

I have some website notes.

I have some new ideas about an older work.

It doesn’t sound like much.

It’s progress.

 

 

 

Resolved

I suppose New Year’s resolutions are generally composed more or less at New Year’s. We used to walk around a lake in a nearby park  January 1 and discuss them, once upon a time. That was before our  household added an early January birthday to the roster.

Now, as far as I’m concerned, the holidays aren’t over until the second week of January.  And, rather than brainstorming them out of thin air, I guess you could say such resolutions as I have evolved, kind of organically.

I took a bit out of the Sunday paper last week and spun a story with it. The original plan was to turn out one a month, but I’ll shoot to get one a week.  I’ve already started another, however…Realistically? My dad is probably facing heart surgery this year and I have to move a freshman to college.  But I’m off to a decent start.

Resident Expert and I have both resolved to blog with regularity, no matter what hits the fan.  Another good start.

I plan to get out a query a month. Not shooting real darn high with that one, I’ll admit.  However, slow but steady beats out erratic, which is what I have been. Picked an agency, picked an agent. Have plans to re-read said novel and query letter and try again.  I can do this thing.

So far, I’m just using my basic blog site without actually moving in, hanging curtains, painting the walls, you know, making it mine. So, a time line for adding the extras will be finished by the end of this month.

Moving in will include having at least the first of my craft-themed postings out by mid-year.

Also, I hope to have at least one short work out there at all time.  That is a little ambitious.

I’ve already typed in a half of a novel for which I only had a hand-written copy. I will outline all of my notes for the rest of it.

I don’t know when I’ll finish my other novel series. Whenever I do, I suppose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Here I Go Again

 

I just re-read my posts for the past year.

Actually, I read my posts for the past-year-minus-one-month because I only made my first post in February.

Wow.

Less than a year.

I broke through the wall on short work. I worked at meeting word count goals. I did a total re-type revise on half a novel–half, because it picked up beyond that point.

I didn’t do much querying. I did do some short submissions. I didn’t finish my larger work-in-progress. I now have a couple of novellas under my belt.

I became comfortable with blogging.

I became comfortable with not blogging, because life does things to you sometimes, and picked it back up again.

I’m back where I started, which was-

can’t wait to see what happens this year.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Updated

I didn’t work on craft things. I did come back with a short story, followed by a novella. The first is finished and in the revision stage; the second is nearly finished.

I’ve started this post a half a dozen times in my head: as a musing on the impermanence of things, taking as a starting point the fact that I cannot find some of the yarns that were in stores a  year ago, because knitting as a craze has crested;  as a consideration of loss, and confronting loss–which was already part of my vacation experience– followed by the news, when we returned, that one of my earliest and best supporters was entering hospice care.

I considered writing a humorous piece thanking Nathan Bransford for his blog about getting side-tracked and letting time slide between posts.  For one thing, his post was certainly timely, and for another, it would give me the chance to publicly thank him for years of sensible advice.

I had plans to incorporate more of the fun stuff. I hadn’t anticipated that my daughter’s last year of school would be quite so frenetic or so vulnerable to bouts of bittersweet retrospection.

I suppose I could have launched forth on the subject of working in a semi-detached townhouse between a neighbor  who is meticulously re-sanding his wood floors and one who possesses  not one but two yapping little dogs all of which may be heard in my basement retreat.

The closest thing to profundity that I seem to be able to wrest from all of this is that the same–forget profundity.

It’s this: You pick yourself up; you keep going.