dampscribbler: (bird on it)
Hey, writers! 

I've been "working" on this thing for a while, and I worked on it some more yesterday, and I've noticed something about my process.

Most of us know by now that writers throw all kinds of roadblocks in their own way, usually blocks created by some sort of doubt. "This is boring." "No one will care." "I'm not doing anything new here." etc etc etcetcetcusw

Well, I've discovered one in my repertoire that I hadn't before realized existed. It has several names --

"I can do this better."  "This isn't good enough." "What if I tell it this way instead?" "Well, that's okay, but I see twelve other ways it could be done, I should try something else."

Identifying the beast for what it is -- another form of doubt -- feels like an achievement, because it helps me take it less seriously, shove it aside and move on, but this one's still a humdinger at the moment. I figure the best way around it is through it, so instead of starting over again (and I think I've started this one close to a dozen times in the past 3-plus months) I'm going to just keep writing forward, telling myself the story, and get that first draft out.  

I hope.

Have any of you noticed this tendency in yourself? Does it have other names/messages I should be watching out for? 

Happy writing, everyone!


Feb. 5th, 2012 03:11 pm
dampscribbler: (bird on it)
Somebody please teach me how to decorate my house
dampscribbler: (Default)
I'll be tuning my husband's web browser (because his computer is closer to the kitchen) to this site: 


 to see who wins. This is how I know I've crossed over to true KidLit geekery. And I'm proud of it. 
dampscribbler: (toast)
It will not always be easy. It will not always be fun. My wish for you is for the good to outnumber and outweigh the bad, sad, and painful as much as possible, and my love and light pull you through the hard times. 

I think it's going to be a very interesting year.


Nov. 29th, 2011 09:44 pm
dampscribbler: (bird on it)
Several times in the past few days I've found myself really really looking forward to sitting back down with the book that I'm reading when I find time and getting back into it. Because it's really good and I'm enjoying it. It's got cool characters having adventures in mysterious amazing places and discovering remarkable things.

So far so good, right?  So, what am I reading? Well, I'm not actually reading a book right now. I've got a few things I'm glancing at in the last few exhausted moments of the day before I go to sleep, but I'm not reading a book.  I'm wondering if the book I'm so looking forward to reading is actually the one I am TRYING to find time to start writing. 
dampscribbler: (writing)
So It's been almost 3 weeks since I've gotten to work on my (presumably midgrade) story. Which I kind of lost interest in over that time. I made some notes on a picture book earlier this week, and idea I've had kicking around for several months now and would like to play with.  I have time today, so I was really looking forward to messing with one or both of those today after I ran a couple of errands this morning. Wouldn't you know it, on the way home something new and very very different hit me in the head. 

So now I'm working on an adult novel set in a near-future dystopia and my main character is a 33 year old man. 

This should be interesting.


I know some of you out there write more than one thing at a time. I really want to be that way. But if that's going to happen, I'm going to have to find more than 2-3 hours every ten days to write. Where does time come from?  
dampscribbler: (Default)
So, if every day had 28 hours and every hour had 75 minutes, I might be able to fit in everything I want to do in a day. And I'd only need 7 hours of sleep instead of 9! Of course, I'd have to fit in a fourth meal....
dampscribbler: (neil and amanda)
I'm a homebody.  I'm pretty committed to being at home, especially in the evening, and getting my sleep in an appropriately Franklinian manner ("early to bed, early to rise.")  If something is going to have me out after dinner, it had better be good. Last night, I took Dear Hubby to see An Evening With Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman, a multi-media, ukelele-infused evening of songs, stories, and Amanda's new socks (which read "Ninja.")  It was more than good. It was precisely what, in my opinion, an evening of entertainment should be -- a celebration of life through the art and expression of talented, fun, funny, imperfect people.  

The Aladdin theater seats about 600 people, which lent an air of intimacy and immediacy to the show that you don't get in a big stadium -- it was kind of like being at the high school talent show, with actual talent.  I loved being able to see the expressions on everyone's faces as they performed, especially Amanda's as the expressions on her face add details, nuances, sometimes counterpoints, to the stories her songs tell.  The songs and stories performed seemed to be designed around a theme of absence, incompleteness, even loss.  But if melancholy was an undertone, laughter was the overtone, which was set from the very beginning, when Neil introduced the opening act, The Jane Austen Argument, a duo from Australia.  Neil then explained that only half of the opening act was able to perform, as the other half had not been allowed to cross the US border from Canada after their weekend performance, and thus was still in Canada. The half of The Jane Austen Argument that was present then performed both parts -- to great comic effect -- of a duet written by Neil about missing your love.  She followed up with "Reunion Song," which was influenced by the fact that she was not invited to her high school reunion, and "Phoenix," a song about anticipating birth/rebirth. 

Sometimes Neil and Amanda shared the stage, sometimes Neil read a story, sometimes Amanda performed solo.  I think the first thing he read was "The Day the Saucers Came," which is about missing it all, or, if you prefer, it's just about missing the end of the world.  "Forgetting Ray Bradbury" was a haunting story about words and stories, about losing them and trying to hold on to them, that Neil wrote and read for Ray Bradbury's ninety-first birthday (Neil enunciated that so clearly, I feel compelled to spell it out in letters.)  He also read "Shoggoth's Old Peculiar," in which an American takes a walking tour of the British coastline and drinks his first pint(s) of beer with a couple of odd locals who educate him about Lovecraftian language, only to wake alone the next morning having gained his first hangover but having lost the town he'd been in the night before.  Neil had a way of delivering the characters' accents that was almost invisibly there, each character sounded unique while still sounding like Neil and not Neil-trying-to-sound-like-somebody-else.  Neil also read "A Nobody's Guide to the Oscars," a wry look at Hollywood glamour and pomp in the nebula of the anniversary of profound loss. 

Amanda came on stage to do several numbers at a time, every delivery powerful and deep. There's something life-affirming about listening to a performer who would never make it to the final round of American Idol (and gods bless her for that) sing about doing what she wants to,  and state plainly, "I've already spent too much time doing things I didn't want to."  She performed original songs like "Runs in the Family," "The Truth," and "Map of Tasmania," as well as her new song about "the big hole" in her answers to the inevitable question from interviewers "who influenced your work?"  I'd seen this one on YouTube last week and it made me cry (twice), and then I cried again last night, it's poignant and beautiful and true, and it's the kind of truth that is so easily overlooked.  And it has a punchline in the middle that got a fantastic reaction of laughter and cheers from the audience, so I won't give that away.  She also did an amazing cover of "Look Mummy No Hands" by Dillie Keane, and for Neil's birthday she sang Lou Reed's "Caroline Says II" back-to-back with her own "Blake Says."  

Neil and Amanda also performed together, particularly hilarious was "Makin' Whoopie," sung by Amanda and deadpanned by Neil. The show went well over three hours (I'm not kidding it's taking me almost that long to write this entry, whoops,) and really was worth every minute.  About 11pm Amanda introduced "special guest" John Cameron Mitchell, director of "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" who has a decent set of pipes on him, too. He came onto stage in jeans, a t-shirt, and a plaid flannel tied around his waist, he looked more like a skinny college student than a 48-year-old movie director, but who cares about looks, his duets with Amanda were fantastic, and then he and Amanda and Neil sang "Whole Wide World," again about filling that empty place. 

The show ran well over three hours, and I worried that my parents on babysitting duty would fall asleep before we got home, so we bolted out of there during the applause even though Amanda hinted at an encore. It was a really fantastic show, delivering everything I'd hoped for and more.  They filmed the whole thing with at least four cameras, I'll be watching to see if they release a DVD. 

UPDATE: Looks like they'll be webcasting their final show tonight in Seattle! http://www.whosay.com/neilgaiman/content/143487?code=VVVYdh

dampscribbler: (red orange yellow)
Dear 2012 Presidential Candidates,

We are your future constituents and we are parents.

We are American mothers and fathers and grandparents and guardians. Our families might be the most diverse in the world. Blended and combined in endless permutations, we represent every major religion, political ideology and ethnic culture that exists. We are made from equal parts biology and choice. Our children come to us in every way possible—including fertility miracles, adoption, and remarriage.

Our very modern families embody the freedom that defines America. We embody America. We are rich in diversity, but we are united in our family values. We come together today, with one voice, to express our grave disappointment in the national political discourse.

The 2012 countdown has barely begun and we are already being bombarded with the warmed-over, hypocritical rhetoric of 2008. We are living in a time where 15.1% of Americans now live in poverty, the unemployment rate stands at 16%, and we are spending close to $170 billion annually on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Given the current state of affairs we would expect every candidate to focus on the issues that truly matter: job creation, debt-relief, taxes, education, poverty, and ending the war(s). Instead, it is already clear to us that the conversation has been hijacked, with the goal of further polarizing our nation into a politically motivated and falsely created class-war.

We will not stand for another campaign year in which politicians presume to know what our family values are as they relate to the nation.

To be clear, here are our family values:

Affordable health care, including family planning, for all Americans. We will not tolerate any candidate using the shield of “Choice” to blind us from the issues that really matter. When funding is stripped from organizations like Planned Parenthood, access to sliding-scale health care (including yearly pap smears & mammograms), comprehensive sex education, and family planning is blocked from the poorest of the population.

Access to education, and the ability to actually use it. We want quality, affordable, federally-funded pre-K programs made available in every State, in order to provide an even starting point for all children enrolled in public schools— regardless of the wealth of the district or town they live in.

A reinstatement of regulations for banks issuing mortgages and full prosecution for those who engaged in fraudulent lending practices. We want full accountability —investigation, indictment and prosecution— of those individuals and institutions who engaged in fraudulent lending practices and who helped create the massive foreclosures that left many families homeless or struggling to keep their homes.

A return of strict environmental regulations protecting water, air, food, and land that were removed in the last two decades. We want our children to grow up in a world not weighed down by the strains of pollution and global warming. Between BPA in our products, sky-rocketing rates of asthma in kids, questionable hormones in our over-processed food, and more, we need leaders who will put our needs and safety over the desires and profits of large corporations.

Family planning, healthcare, education, economic solvency and environmental safety: these are our national family values.

Candidates who demonstrate the ability to understand the gravity of these issues, and their impact on our families, and who can provide actual, viable solutions to these problems will garner our support and our votes.

We believe in this democratic system of ours, and we will continue to use our voices and our votes to see that it reaches its fullest potential.


Your future constituents,

The mothers & fathers of America
dampscribbler: (antibes)
Sometimes I pretend the Universe created the Internet just for me so it could keep hitting me upside the head with positive mojo. 

Thanks, Universe.  :)
dampscribbler: (bird on it)
Oh, I hope to come back and post a few more things about Wordstock but I am ready to be done with the computer for the day, so I'll just do a quick post for now.

For those of you not familiar, Wordstock is Portland's Festival of the Book.  Writers and publishers from all over the place come to Portland for a weekend in the Fall to talk words and books, and of course to sell books and sign them, too.  I attended all day yesterday with DH and Miss M (although her grandparents picked her up after a few hours so they could play with her and DH and I could relax a bit,) and today for just one hour. These kids of things are a bit overwhelming for an introvert, so I'm tired now.  

The talk I attended today was a panel of YA writers -- Young Adult fiction -- talking about their books and their writing.  The panel was moderated by Sarah Ryan, and consisted of Lisa Schroeder, Lindsay Leavitt, and Corey Whaley. It was a great panel, and I was glad I attended, and there are a few things from it I plan to pass along later, but I just wanted to say right now that my favorite moment was Lindsay Leavitt spontaneously volunteering that her least favorite question to answer is "what's your writing process like?" which she then proceeded to answer with "Sometimes you sit down at the keyboard and crack your knuckles and the awesome just starts flowing out, and sometimes you're curled in a fetal position on the floor for three days and you can't see how it will end."  Which sounds pretty familiar to me, and makes me feel a lot better about my own process. 


Oct. 7th, 2011 10:03 pm
dampscribbler: (bird on it)
Today Miss M was denied television as a consequence of a long and noisy meltdown yesterday afternoon.  We spent some time together drawing pictures, which is something she rarely does anymore.  She made up a brilliant story with a girl on one page finding a passage to a magical land, then she turned the page over and drew the magical land and the girl looked somewhat different, because the land was different. Her hair was a different color, her skin was a different color.... It was pretty cool.   She asked me to draw too (she actually said "I'll draw pictures if you will draw with me,") so I drew an abstract (because that's what I do) and then a picture of a house and a little girl (because kids like those kinds of pictures, or at least she does), and she asked me about it. 

"Is that a big girl?"

"No, she's a toddler, see her little arms and little legs?" (as I was drawing them)

"Can you please draw her Mommy too, because I'm uncomfortable seeing a two-year-old alone like that."

So I drew the Mom and went to make dinner.  M decided that the family needed to be bigger, and the picture more detailed, so she drew a Dad and a big sister and a little brother ("I think Josh or William are great names for a little baby. Then they can change it when they grow up,") and a stinky diaper and a puppy and a big bright sun.  
dampscribbler: (Default)
I'm so thankful that school has begun again. Miss M, now age 7 and in second(!!) grade, is pretty happy with her new teacher and is happy to be hanging out with girlfriends again. She's been much nicer the past few days, and I'm afraid I have to admit that I have been too. I'm glad to be getting back into a routine and catching up on tidying some of the messes that have developed in the house over the past few months. I've told myself I can't clean for more than an hour a day, because in the past I've made myself kind of crazy trying to get lots of things cleaned up "before I start working," and ultimately neither happens to my satisfaction. So I'm trying bits of things -- a bit of writing each day, a bit of cleaning, a bit of errands or appointments out of the house. So far it's going okay, although I'm still neglecting the writing time (old habits die hard, but eventually, with effort and attention, they do change to new habits.) I'm also kind of hoping to start a new reading/writing blog, but that's down the road a piece. First thing is to get to my story and get it on the page and have some fun with it. Once I'm confident that my writing time is somewhat stable and won't be sacrificed, then I may try adding something else to the mix.

And with that, I'm going to go do some errands. I did cleaning, I'll do errands, then writing time until 3:00 when M comes home from school.
dampscribbler: (Default)
I've forgotten to keep track here! Now I have to try to remember what I read and in what order. So, my best estimate is that at the end of July is when I read "The Wild Girls" by Ursula LeGuin, which was excellent and sad.

I'll try to catch up on my books read posts in the next few days.
dampscribbler: (Default)
We here on the West Coast are under the impression that you there on the East Coast are facing The End of The World. And none of you are posting on LJ about evacuation or hoarding food or anything, so I'm wondering who is misinformed? I hope it's me, and I hope you all stay safe and relatively dry this weekend.
dampscribbler: (Default)
What if I write a really good book but nobody reads it and I become convinced that the world is peopled with nothing but fools and idiots and my only option is a life of sour misanthropy?

Okay, glad I got that out of my system!  Onward!


Jul. 24th, 2011 09:19 pm
dampscribbler: (Default)
Oh, look, I can log in! Maybe I'll spend some time playing around here this week....


Jul. 14th, 2011 06:56 pm
dampscribbler: (Default)
 So, if you were 5'2"  a Size 2, and 45 years old, where would you shop for clothes? (Please keep your responses considerate of my feelings, I'm just as sensitive about my size as most other women are, and given the choice I would be a Size 8.)
dampscribbler: (Default)
In recognition of the big release Friday, even though we won't get to actually see the movie for a couple weeks.  We watched Part 1 over the weekend.  Getting excited!
dampscribbler: (reading)
 13) The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
Wonderful book. Both more and less heartbreaking than I had expected.  I've been looking forward to reading this one for a long time, and I was not disappointed.  

I finished reading this book on July 3.  


dampscribbler: (Default)

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