Thursday, June 25, 2015

Yesterday I Gave Birth

But first, I want to add one more thing to my menu of malaise, and that is: the next season of Outlander, the Starz TV series based on the books. (I guess technically it's part 2 of Season 1, almost a year later, to which I say: give me a break.)

With shows that I have to download or get from Netflix, rather than watch in real time (e.g., Orphan Black, Orange Is the New Black), I prefer to wait till the end of the season and then have a lovely binge, so I was very excited when Husband presented me with the entirety of the next installment of Outlander! I loved the first season, despite the abundance of nudity (ew) and the over-reliance on rape, near-rape, suggested rape, and threat of rape as entertainment.

So there I am, curled up in bed with a mug of coffee and high hopes, watching the very first
episode . . .

. . . which opens with our villain stripping Claire to the waist, at knifepoint; he is about to rape her when her new husband bursts in with a gun. Knifepoint, gunpoint, half-naked Claire, the negotiating goes on and on and on ("Drop your knife!" "No, you drop your gun!" "No, you!" "No, you!"), and all I can think is: some director told the Claire actress to do this. "That's right, now make your breasts heave a little. Can you perk up your left nipple? Awesome. Awesome acting."

Ew ew ew ew ew.

Outlander is an equal-opportunity offender, the men are beaten and abused as well, the scars on husband Jamie's back are a roadmap of misery, and I know his own rape is coming up — but honestly, I am not advocating for equal-rape time here. I would like this particular heinous and violent crime to stop being presented to me as entertainment.

I couldn't watch the rest of the disc because either (1) something is wrong with it or (2) something is wrong with my DVD player. I will try it elsewhere — which is also a bummer, because I like to watch movies in bed before I go to sleep. But I will figure it out!

Anyway. On to my birth announcement!

My writers group gave me lots of good advice, as I reported yesterday, and everyone agreed that step 1 was to create a professional writer website. I can now be found at:

I may purchase my domain name, so I can delete "wordpress" from the URL — we shall see.

This is my first baby step toward a "social media presence." I'm still working on the design (WordPress is harder to figure out than Blogger) and deciding what "pieces" to include, but anyway — if you're at all curious about my writing life, feel free to check it out. Once I actually have a finished Novel 2 to sell, I will get serious about things like "followers," but I'm not there yet.

My next social-media-learning project will either be Instagram or vlogging. I simply don't take that many pictures I want to share, so I'm not sure that Instagram will be for me; conversely, while I liked the idea of a video blog (me talking about books I'm reading, I imagined), I practice-filmed myself yesterday and found the entire experience excruciating. It reminded me so much of Skype, which I also loathe. I might need to get likkered up to do this . . . just the thing for an aspiring YA author, n'est-ce pas?

In terms of weight loss (you know — the topic of this blog), I continue to gain and lose the same five pounds, over and over, and my knees are killing me. Yesterday I had a long to-do list, and I did everything but my physical therapy (though I birthed a whole website! and cleaned my freezer! and made the yummiest green enchiladas!!!). I will try to fit it in today, because it really does seem to help my poor knees.

Today Li'l Martini spends the morning at the high school (a sort of Freshman Orientation) and is then invited to a party; Mimosa is taking a college tour at Simmons in Boston. As I perused the online course catalog at this lovely school, I saw that they offer an MFA in writing for children. "That's it," I said to Husband, "I'm going back to school!" So I guess the writer dream continues to flourish within, this week anyway.

Maybe I'll try to fit in both physical therapy and writing today. I don't have any editing work scheduled (waiting for a client to get back to me) — maybe today's the day to rassle the two things I am most likely to put off. OK, writing these words is a good impetus. I just read a really great book:

. . . and the importance of being mindful and having a plan were mentioned over and over again.

All right, then — here is my plan:
  • Take Martini to school at 8:15
  • Come home and write for an hour. An hour.
  • Ride my stationary bike, lift weights, do physical therapy.
  • Reward! (the book says it's important to have an immediate reward): Daytime bubble bath and the new Judy Blume book! 
Stay tuned!

—Lady C, part-time cripple and aspiring authoress

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

My People Call It Malaise

It is HOT in Arlington, Mass. — hot, humid, and sticky, my least favorite type of weather in the entire world.

What I wanted to do was sit in front of a fan with a cold beverage, but instead I attended Li'l Martini's graduation from middle school, wrapped and prepared his graduation present, made him a card, baked brownies for his graduation dance, took my daughter to lunch to celebrate her last day of school, deposited some checks, prepared snacks and tidied the house for an evening meeting with my writers group, hosted said group, and wrote a sympathy letter to the family of a Betsy-Tacy friend who just died.

Tomorrow will be better.

The writers group meeting was one that I requested. A publisher that I just submitted my novel to asked me about my social media presence, and my sad little answer was, "None." I love and trust my writer friends, all of whom have beautiful, elegant websites (they're listed to the right — check 'em out!), so I invited them over to teach me Social Media 101 while I plied them with wine and snacks and took copious notes.

Writer Jenny is very cross with me, because she was ready to hunker down right then and set me up on WordPress . . . but that is not how I roll. I need to do this on my own, without people breathing next to me. (Or behind me, Husband.) But I will!

Except . . . I just got another rejection from another publisher, the one who'd requested the full manuscript, and I fear that my dear little novel may simply be too old-fashioned for today's market. The one I'm currently working on is edgier. It would probably be smarter to finish that one, sell it, and then say, "Hey, since you like my second book . . ."

All that being said — I'm becoming more and more clear that the writer life is not for me. Not one single thing about what today's writers have to do to sell a book sounds fun to me. Writing itself is awesomely fun when it's going well — but to have it go well, I really need to do it regularly, and that takes time and brain space that I just don't have enough of most days.

In other words: This part of my life no longer brings me any measure of joy, and this is a sad thing to realize.

I will set up a writer website, because I promised my group . . . but who knows what will come of it all. I am tired and discouraged and ready to be done.

But I'm taking the summer off from writing (which will look no different from any other day, but still) — maybe I'll be totally rejuvenated come fall. 'Cause that's the most likely result of a long hot summer at home with my kids and husband around all the time, yessirree!

Also — a good friend of ours is dying, and it is so sad and horrible. She has inoperable brain cancer, and they've elected not to do chemo. She's just a little older than I am, I can barely wrap my head around this.

I'm also completely done in by this most recent shooting in Charleston. Just a handful of weeks ago we were cheering the crazy awesome progress in one part of the world . . .

. . . while another part of the world continues to cling to its gross celebration of traitors, treason, and racism:

I am too hot and cranky to come up with a good conclusion for this post.

I have a little bit of work to do tomorrow, but nothing like last week's schedule. Maybe I will actually get in some fan-and-cold-drink time, put my feet up, ice my beleaguered knees. (After sitting all day at my computer, I rode the bike last night, lifted weights, and soaked in Epsom salts, but I am creaky and limpy today. I blame the heat.)

But now it's time for bed.


—Lady C

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Light? Is That You?

I'm finally emerging from the incredible morass of crazy overwork and overcommitment that comprised the last 10 days . . . !
  • Five big jobs. Five. 
  • One was 300+ pages. Shoot me now.
  • One required me to be the final set of eyes on an extremely important report, because the designer was late with it and the client was about to leave for a long-planned vacation.
  • One is requiring me to write and/or adapt full sections, because they are referred to elsewhere in the document and yet they don't exist.* (I'll be working on this one through June.)
  • One was a brochure I helped craft more than a year ago, and I'm still finding old mistakes in it, which is discouraging.
  • But the fifth one, about gambling prevention, was pretty fun. I said to the client, "Is it totally wrong that I now want to hit the new casino when it opens?" and she said, "Oh, we are already planning an educational field trip!"
(It occurs to me that I still haven't responded to the wackadoo potential client. Whoops! Better do that today.)
  • We hosted the world's easiest and most delightful houseguests: my BF Lady Darcy's husband, CPA Boy, and their cherub, My Godson. I fulfilled my Godmothering duties of (1) showing Godson MIT and clucking over What Might Have Been (long story), (2) introducing him to many flavorful cocktails (yes, he is 21 – and yes, we got a little "giggly" on tequila night), and (3) teaching him how to make pie!! We had a lot of fun.
  • I attended the first meeting of my new church committee, which is already pretty worky. Kind Tina is sending me tons of "what do you think of this?" and "which of these books should we choose for next year's parenting book group?" e-mails  — I think I need to have a sit-down with her soon and ask her to chill a bit. I'm so glad to be off the Leadership committee, and yet . . . I totally ran my own show over there. I need to get used to having someone more "in my face" again.
  • I hosted a Betsy-Tacy party for a visiting Minnesotan — fun, yet wearying.
  • Weeks ago, I agreed to sub in the last Sunday school class of our church year for the second-graders I taught in the winter. Well, then it turned out that both teachers were going to be absent, so instead of an easy helper gig, I suddenly became the lead teacher responsible for lesson planning. No good deed goes unpunished, as they say . . .
  • On Monday, I hosted the final meeting of my loathed Leadership committee. However, it was great fun; we had lots of champagne and two kinds of cake, and they gave me gorgeous parting gifts!!! Three of them are in my wine rack (!!), and here is the fourth, which I completely adore:

So — a lot on my plate. But the biggest responsibilities have now been fulfilled, and I'm back to simply being regular-busy rather than CRAZYCRAZYBUSY, which I celebrated yesterday by working out and taking a long hot bubble bath.

Except, and except. I have been so busy and stressed, I haven't been logging my food, which is probably just as well because I haven't been eating all that great.

Yesterday, in particular, I ate extremely poorly: a small piece of leftover cake for breakfast (!!), and two organic pop-tarts** and a handful of mixed nuts for lunch. And when I got on the bike to pound out five miles, it was clear that I had no good fuel to run on, which made everything much harder than it needed to be.
I'm starting today with better choices (breakfast spackle!). I have some more work to do, and then some errands to run (and a wackadoo client to contact), and who knows? Maybe another workout, we'll see.

I've had so many good books home from the library, and I'm so excited to finally get a chance to read them!!!


More to write, as always, but this is enough for now. Onward!

— Lady C

* It's a lot of work, but I'm enjoying this job quite a bit. The client is a peach; she says she gets assigned these reports because she's known to be "a writer," except that she has an MFA in poetry; her skills are not lending themselves well to a guidebook for substance-abuse prevention grantees. I told her that an opening poem on the scourge of underage drinking would be just the ticket!
Life is something you should cherish,
If you drink too soon, your life could perish.

—from "Underage Drinking" by Zane Skeels

** Note how I slip "organic" in there so it sounds less reprehensible? Yeah, it was practically health food.

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Queen of the Editing Prom

I am alive.

But I won't be blogging for real any time soon. I am "buried" under a pile of work, except it's all via e-mail, so there's nothing really to bury me. I am buried under the weight of the expectations of others, how's that?

I'm currently juggling five jobs, plus one maybe-job (I don't really want it, I think the client is a wackadoo, but it would be an interesting challenge), and I'm such a tease, I make every client believe that she's my one and only. But (shh!) it's a lie — I'm the editrix version of Runaround Sue.

I'm also "entertaining" "houseguests" this week (they are old, old friends, practically family, who are crashing at my house for a few days; I will give them each a towel and a house key — that's entertaining enough, right?). Fortunately I dusted during a work break, and the house will be chore-fresh on Saturday, the day they arrive, so I'm not stressing about anything. It will be so fun to see them!

All will be well. But heaven only knows when I'll have the time and mental liveliness to blog again. Or to think about weight loss. Or to contemplate anything other than subject-verb agreement and D head format.

Bedtime! My brain already went to sleep an hour ago.

— Lady C