Friday, January 31, 2014

More than a Map

I can't show you the thing I want to tell you about, so you're just going to have to imagine it. 

Imagine a white sheet of a paper.  Then imagine that someone named Tyler-Rose Counts drew on it a path of tiny pictures connected by lines that were too elegant to be called lines.  The path moved, one tiny symbolic depiction after another, back and forth across the page, and in that manner meandered from top to bottom, and from beginning to end. 


This sort of story map could obviously be useful.  I could write a whole long post about how helpful it could be for writers of all sorts.  (I must admit, however, that I have doubts about what would happen if I tried to draw one for my current project.  It is certain that it would not look as nice as Tyler-Rose's, due to my far-inferior drawing skills.  It is highly likely that, due to the deranged way I tell stories, it would look like a spider web somebody had attacked with a blow-dryer.) 

I'm sure it's an excellent tool.  To be able to behold the whole story, visibly, at a glance--who doesn't need that?  I urge you all to try it.  I might even try it, despite my totally justified mangled-spider-web fears. 

But I wasn't captivated by this story map because it looked like it could make writing novels easier. 

It was more than useful.  It was beautiful, like any good story, and I can't wait to enjoy the privilege of reading it. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

All the Drafts

Neither Susan nor I are currently producing a first draft of any great length,* but I know that time is going to come again. And actually, as a pantser, I find revising much more of an emotional roller-coaster than producing the original draft.

So, this is totally relevant to my life right now.

It was a long time ago, but in 2011 some brilliant soul on Operation Awesome** made this wonderful thing:

The Tangled Illustrated Guide to First Drafts

Which I am humbly retitling:  

The Tangled Illustrated Guide to My Writing Life

Or maybe it's just my life. I can't tell anymore.


Tangled Repunzel frog


It made me laugh. Both because the writing process*** is pretty much like this for me and because sometimes I actually get tangled in my hair.

Enjoy :)

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* I'm pretty much always producing a short story that I may or may not have any intention to ever show to anyone ever.

** They're awesome. You should totally check them out.

*** ALL OF IT, FOR GOD'S SAKE

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stay Inspired

This semester Susan and I have made all sorts of writing resolutions. I would elaborate further, but I think she plans to blog about this fairly soon, so I'll let her do that when she gets around to it. Suffice it to say that our resolutions involve accountability and mandatory, set writing times. All in an attempt to help us to stay on the right track goals-wise, something we seem to find difficult during the semester.

So far it's actually working really well.

However, the temptation to let our resolutions slide is extremely strong. We are in school after all and so there is always homework that is sort of pressing around our ears. We are still in the dorm they moved us to when our suite flooded, though we've sort of settled in.* Also, a bunch of my books were ruined and are now moldering in plastic bags outside my room.

moldy books bags ruined
That's my Chaucer there on the top. Heart break.

Besides being relocated, Polar Vortex the Second is passing through and it is currently 9 degrees, but feels like -6. Unbelievably, it has actually warmed up from this morning when it was 0 degrees,  but felt like -17. That was a lot of fun. At least the dorm we are in now is warmer than the suite ever was.

All these things conspire to make laying in a depressed heap on someone's bedroom floor seem much more attractive than doing actual WORK of any kind. Who would want to work when you could curl into the fetal position and complain about your life instead?**

But a couple of things have been keeping me--I'm not sure I want to say inspired, exactly, but more like . . . Entertained? Happy? Amused? Convinced the world doesn't totally suck?

Anyway, the things which are currently making my life worth living are:***

1. The fact that our new dorm has a solarium with beautiful big windows that let in lots of light even on snowy days. There are these lovely little glass tables down there and last Saturday all my displaced roommates and I had our Scarf-a-Scone Saturday scones in there. My grandmother gave me strawberry conserves and clotted cream for Christmas so we had that as well. The other girls who were lounging around doing crazy things like studying on a Saturday morning were totally jealous of us. 



2. This teapot/cup set which I recently acquired.






The sides say, "A good laugh and a cup of tea are the two best cures." Someone asked me what exactly tea and laughter are a cure for. Oh, only EVERYTHING.


3. This song which I've listened to . . . erm . . . A LOT today. Ed Sheeran's version is the credit song for the Hobbit II,**** but I actually find that I like this one by Peter Hollens better. And it's just so epic. It makes me want to write great things.



Have an inspired day! 

And if you live anywhere that isn't California, just stay inside, why don't you?

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* As much as we can when we know^ we're just going to have to move again pretty soon.

^ I use this word as loosely as possible. Truthfully, we know nothing about anything regarding our suite. The little tidbits we do know had to be dragged laboriously out of three different people.

** Mistake me not, we will probably do this anyway even when we have been working.

*** Ermahgerd, Tyler-Rose is writing a list!!!!! WHAT???????????????? The world doesn't make sense anymore.

**** Which I haven't seen yet,^ but Susan calls "Smaugadick Dragonbatch: Gold Edition."

^ I'm boycotting.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What's Up Wednesday

Hosted by the lovely sisters Jaime Morrow and Erin L. Funk, What's Up Wednesday is a weekly meme/blog hop in which writer-bloggers take a brief post to share what's going on in their lives, writing-related and otherwise.  Check it out here or here if you want the details! 



WHAT I'M READING

I started several books over our Christmas break that I didn't finish, including Captain Blood by Rafael Sabatini and Game of Thrones (No, I haven't read it yet.)Now that the semester is starting, I'll basically just be reading everything that was ever written in the Renaissance.  I really do hope to squeeze in some time for pleasure reading.  I think my soul needs it.  We'll see. 

WHAT I'M WRITING

Still revising/rewriting/revamping my YA Fantasy. 

WHAT INSPIRES ME RIGHT NOW

sudafed mucus cough medicine

Yeah.  I got sick immediately after moving into our new/temporary dorm.  As I type, I have discovered that I am out of tissues... 

I'm being completely honest about the Sudafed, but on a brighter note, Tyler-Rose and I just set up a plan for writing together and being accountable for our goals this semester.  You should all really get yourself a Tyler-Rose Counts if you don't have one yet. 

WHAT ELSE I'VE BEEN UP TO

Well, the main even in our lives recently has been the disastrous pipe break in our Suite, which occurred just before we came back to school.  We are now pretty much settled into the dorm where we will be living for the next "several weeks."  We don't particularly like shower shoes, but it is a cool old building, Tyler-Rose's walls are a lovely shade of yellow, and it smells better than any part of the Suites ever did. 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Flood and Destruction

Catastrophe has struck the Feather and the Rose.

As we say in our About Us section, when Susan and I are at school, we live in a the same rather nice suite with two of our friends. We have two bathrooms, a kitchen area, a common room,* and we each have a bedroom all to ourselves. College student luxury. For all its loveliness, of course, it is also really cold, full of weird stains, and oddly smelly,** but we love it. 

However, our lovely suite--and the school it's attached to--is located in a frozen Midwestern state. According to reports, they had temps of -20 degrees*** for some of this week.

While everyone else was freaking out about freezing to death, our college**** did a stupid thing. They decided this would be a great time to save money by turning off all the heating in our building. The students aren't there to complain, right? So, why not save a few bucks.

Needless to say, a pipe froze. Oh! But this is not just any pipe that froze. It wasn't an outside pipe being blown on by chilling wind, as one might expect. Oh, no. This was an inside pipe. In fact, it was the water pipe that runs to the third flour laundry room.

So, when THE TUNDRA warmed up slightly, the frozen pipe burst. Duh. Because that's what frozen pipes do.

Our suite is on the first floor. Directly under all the laundry rooms. Apparently, water poured out of the pipe all night and ran through the walls to pool in our suite.

They say they've taken any of our clothes that looked wet to the dry cleaners. 

At first, that's all that sounded like it had been damaged. However, in the last 48 hours or so They have announced that we will have to move all of our stuff to new rooms in another dorm building for at least three weeks. Because they have to replace the drywall, and the carpet, and God knows what else.

Our new rooms are on the third floor of a building with no elevators.

The building has communal bathrooms.

All our tea is probably ruined.&

The worst part is that most of my books were stacked on the floor in the suite. 

My Chaucer! My Sir Gawain! My lovely gold embossed copy of Middle March

Beowulf was probably down there too. Kill me.

*weep*



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

* Which contains the all important WWBOM^ couch.

^ What Will Become Of Me?#  

# For the illustrious origins of the WWBOM couch, see Animal Husbandry by Laura Zigman.

** This is so not our fault. It's not any more weird smelling now than it was when we first stepped through the door. In fact, it might even smell better. Thank you, Febreze.

*** It's about 70 degrees where I am right now :D I love the West Coast.

**** Actually, our college's idiot Energy Czar, who I am convinced is lining his pockets with the money he is saving by keeping most of the buildings really, really cold, and only turning on the heat from 12:06 to 12:11 in the afternoon.

& Susan's side of the suite was actually supposed to have stayed dry. So her stuff is probably fine. We both still have to move out though.

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Richard Armitage Get-Well Card

I now want to share with you something Susan made for me when I was sick at the end of last semester. It ranks high on the list of best gifts I've ever received and is an example of Susan's shining awesomeness.

First a little bit of background information . . .

Susan, two of our friends from school, and I have a running group conversation on Facebook called "Richard Armitage Floats our Goat."* We mostly use it to spam each other with Richard Armitage pictures and gifs when we really should be writing papers.

Sometime in November, I caught the flu despite my flu shot, high vitamin intake, and tendency to drink tea until I can hear my insides slosh. I felt wretched, but didn't have the time to rest up until I felt better.

To make me feel better, Susan made me the most epic get-well card I think I will probably ever receive and posted it in the "Richard Armitage Floats our Goat" conversation for us all to enjoy.


Monday, January 6, 2014

English Tea

On my very last trip to Barnes and Noble this summer before I went back to school, a wonderful tea room was having its grand opening across the street.

For those of you who were not aware, having an English tea room in our town* has been one of my heart's deepest wishes for years now. Pretty much since I visited England in high school and discovered that there were magical places where scones, cream, jam, finger sandwiches, and tea by the pot can be had all at the same time.

So, when my mother and I saw the tea house opening its door for the first time, we dropped our Barnes and Noble purchases to the ground, sort of knelt on the pavement, and said a little prayer that the wretched economy would be kind to the little tea house so that it would still be there when I came back at Christmastime.

Last week we ventured back, with fear in our hearts, to see if they had made it. And  . . .

GLORIOUS JOY, THE TEA HOUSE IS STILL THERE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

My mother and I went in and sat in wing-back chairs by a fire and drank an entire pot of tea each** out of darling, dainty, mismatched cups. When we waddled out I think we both sloshed a little bit. It was probably the most fun I've had all month. 

Isn't it pretty? My heart sang.

What made the experience even better, was that I had just spent a Barnes and Noble gift card someone gave me for my birthday. So I was drinking fresh brewed tea out of real tea cups and there was a stack of brand new books*** under my seat.

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*Actually, there has been a tea room--though not an English one--here for years, but until recently I thought it was probably a front for a pot shop and found the Tarot card reader who guards the door scary enough that I didn't want to investigate further. Thanks to my excellent Googling skills I've discovered that they do, in fact, actually sell tea^, but sadly they've gone all Oriental instead of blissfully English. Instead of lovely crust-less finger sandwiches and scones they sell things like Cayenne Quiche. The idea of Cayenne Quiche just doesn't float my goat^^ the same way the idea of an English cream tea does. 

^ and chocolate!

^^
 
** Besides my entire pot of tea, I also ate two fresh-made triple berry scones with clotted cream and delicious raspberry jam and four amazing little sandwiches.

*** In case you're curious, I got The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley, Shadows by Robin McKinley, and a really lovely day planner for next semester.