I love jack-o-lanterns!

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of my mum:

Inspiration usually comes during work rather than before it.
Madeleine L'Engle



This morning I had a brilliant idea that I would shelve the plot sketch I have for this year's NaNo effort and write a "therapy novel." That would be just for me, a loose narrative structure to explore my own internal workings in broad metaphors that wouldn't have to make sense or be particularly original because it would be just for me. I'm not sure I'd be able to drag that out for 50,000 words, but if there's no need for a viable first draft at the end of November, then I wouldn't have to "get" anywhere -- I could wander.
Well, the characters I had been introducing myself to for the real novel didn't take this well. They are raring to go for an adventure and don't really want to be shelved. So. What to do? I'm being heavily lobbied by my main characters. I've got a young and uneducated mother who really wants to discover that education doesn't equal intelligence and she's got the latter in spades. I've got a frustrated young father who wants more for his family. Who am I to deny them -- oh, only the *author*.
I think this'll be an interesting November.


Collectively speaking

Today a group of online friends are keeping up a running joke about me (hard to explain the "train" of thought -- bored number-checker to zombie number-checker) on the site we visit. It makes me laugh and feel teary at the same time. As a self-described loner (originally spelled that "loaner" - Freudian slip?), I'm establishing the first really long-term relationships (aside from my dear and loony family) in my life. I've lived in the same city for 6 years now - longest in my adult life. I'm playing a team sport - coed indoor soccer. I've been going to tai chi classes pretty regularly twice a week for 2 1/2 years now - definitely longest I've ever done any exercise regimen. I've been hanging with the same group of friends for over four years. And I own a house and have pets (one does not "own" cats ;).
I don't know what was stopping me from keeping long term relationships before, but I have to admit, it's heartwarming and embarrassing to receive love/friendship in that way. It felt so when my sister arranged a surprise birthday party for me, and I know that's why she doesn't want me to elope if I ever do get married. And maybe I'm settling down enough now that I actually won't. (No promises though, Aileen!)
I made a snarky comment a few posts ago about being a "dependable member of society." I wonder if that's not such a bad thing any more. There are worse things than having people depend on you.


Quote of the Day

"You must stay drunk on writing so reality cannot destroy you."
- Ray Bradbury


Again with the writing?!?!

Just to let y'all know, I'm doing NaNoWriMo again this November. You can find my profile by clicking on the 2005 icon to the right. Last November, this was a source of many interesting posts (see the November 2004 archives)... [later] Actually, I'm just back from reading the November posts and they are some of the best posts I've written. Sometimes I forget that I am a good writer.
In any case, wish me luck. I'm told the second year of NaNo is harder than the first because you tend to rest on your laurels and not take it seriously enough. Well, I remember how hard it was and I intend to work that hard again. It's not going to be easy, but I do have willpower, no matter how much I act like I don't during the rest of the year.
So last year I wrote about an intergalactic bounty hunter. This year, the story is about a working class couple who go to work for an interdimensional temp agency (or something along those lines). Yes, I like the prefix inter-. It implies relationship, and stories don't exist without relationships.
The story from last year hasn't been edited yet, unfortunately. I'd like to revamp the ending, make it a little more intelligent. For now I'm going to content myself with starting some character and plot development for the new story. :)


I did that? Cool!

Apparently, I didn't remember that I had moved my professional website (see sidebar) off my school server and onto some space granted to me by my internet provider.
I did a pretty good job, if I do say so myself.
Wierd to discover something you have no memory of doing.


Lookin' Good

I have to say, it's pretty damn awesome to feel good about yourself all the time.

I get so many compliments on my looks lately. It's really nice, but it's funny that I most often get the question, "are you dating someone?" No, it's not guys trying to find out if I'm available. It's the assumption that what makes a girl look good is love. In a way they're right, except this isn't the love of a good man, it's love for myself and the Universe.

... works for me, obviously. ;)

Edited to add:
Looking better has been in large part due to paying more attention to my appearance. The funny thing is that on the days I feel uninspired and *almost* wear something like I would have worn a year ago, then I push a little harder and figure out something better (usually by adding an accessory or something to take it up a level) -- those are the days I get the most compliments. It's all very encouraging. :)


Society's Pull

I just wrote this in an email to a friend and thought it was a good general observation:

One interesting thing I've noticed is that I've seen a definite increase in people needing something from me. Tonight I'm helping a tai chi teacher with his class and possibly helping a gal at work with something she volunteered to do for my boss' board of education campaign. Then there's said boss' request for more help, which since I already said I'd help I will do probably this weekend. That, plus - taking care of a friend's cats while she was sick, and another friend who wants to rent my basement but hasn't yet (boyfriend is lobbying hard) - and the general request that people donate to this or that disaster relief... well, I just think it's interesting. Is it always like this and I'm only just established as a dependable member of society or is it a current wave of need?


Not for me

Last weekend I went to Hilton Head Island for a wedding. I spent the day before in Savannah, Georgia and the rest of the time at a seaside resort on the island. The contrasting experiences brought up a really interesting reaction in me.
I loved the old and natural beauty of Savannah. It felt comfortable and relaxed and uncontrived, despite the fact that the grid of streets and parks is obviously designed. I think it must be because nature and the architecture have had nearly 300 years (founded in 1733) to get comfortable with each other.

Hilton Head Island on the other hand, was like living in a magazine spread. You know the ones -- where books on architecture are set on the coffee table and a bowl of lemons become a centerpiece on a beautifully glossy dining table. The reason may come from it's history. In 1663, Captain Hilton "discovered" the island (and named it for himself), but it didn't start it's modern development until the 1950s. There were cotton and indigo plantations and vivid events during the Civil War, but I saw no sign of them. Unsightly retail are screened from the road by stands of trees. When driving to the resort where I was staying, I passed perfectly manicured lawns, elegant stands of palmettos, and regal southern architecture. It was all very beautiful, but a little contrived, a little too organized.

It was fine for a vacation -- in fact, the beautifully designed landscape I could see from my room's deck was one of my favorite parts of the trip -- but I wouldn't want to live in it all the time. I couldn't say if this is the same for the surrounding areas (not the island itself) or that if I were a local I wouldn't find historical and natural activities that would give me a better feel for the land. The experience just gave me a glimpse into what it might be like to be someone with a lot more money and more keyed to status. I can't say I would want to live that way if I did have more money and that's something I didn't know before. Now when I see elegant spreads in magazines, I can look at it with a better perspective. I know I'll shape my home differently, regardless of how much money I make.

(I should have known I felt this way when I once decided against an area rug because it coordinated "too perfectly" with my living room walls and couch. At least I'm consistent.)