28 October, 2011

Advocacy of Table Time (Part IV)

Family on Friday!!!

I first started the Family on Friday postings with a simple little suggestion about having table time without screens and calls.  Gussie responded to said post with a reminder that not all families can find the time to come to the table.  I responded with a post explaining the kind of busy life where taking the time to sit is nearly impossible, but consequentially more important.  In spite of the very busy life I led, table time remained an integral part of my relationships and I followed with a post in that regard.  In fact, I continue to practice table time with wifey, our bug, and often grandma, too.  And we just don't really have the same schedule anymore...

So.  What is table time?  Is it like flight time?  Hang time?  Well, it sure is worth explaining.  Allow me to start by paraphrasing a part of the book "Three Cups of Tea" about Greg Mortenson building schools in Pakistan and Afghanistan.  As you can imagine, there are some challenges for an American to build anything, let alone secular schools in those two countries.  During his early efforts, his host explained to him that he must make time for three cups of tea in order make progress.  The first time they have tea, they are strangers, the second time, they are honored guests, and the third time they become family.

The more time you can spend sitting at a table with someone and really be there with them, the closer you get to that person.  You don't have to drink tea, eat, or play a game.  Those things certainly help.  But, if you can just pull up a chair and talk for half an hour, more power to you.  It should be said that there are good ways to have table time and bad ways.

Good ways (not every good way, but you'll get the idea):

  • Ask specific, open ended questions (not answerable with one syllable) like "What happened with that diorama you've been working on?" or "What would you like to do this weekend?" or even "Why have you been so happy lately?"
  • Listen to the whole response.  Try for follow up questions before you get going on your diatribe.
  • Steer the attitudes toward the positive.  Nothing stirs up indigestion or shrinks an appetite better than negativity.  If someone just can't seem to break away from the gripe, call them out on it.  Then ask if they can hold off their bad mood for another hour.
  • Keep the world off the table.  Yes, it's bad.  Everyone knows.  So, chances are you're just preaching to the choir and they're tired of the sermon.  See previous tip.
  • You're not at work.  Don't talk shop or give the office any free time at the table.  I'm sure it's interesting, frustrating, and/or amusing that Harvey used two helical couplings on the trans-spherical drop module and really shot the torque on that puppy through the roof, but save it for another time.  Really.
  • Get all nostalgic on your peeps.  Times may not be all that great and talking about the now could be a violation of the rules.  Then find a time that can get you laughing.  Go back to before the kids were born if you have to.
  • If all else fails, talk in movie/Monty Python quotes.  See how long you can keep a convo going using only the quotes you know.
Some (but not all) bad ways to have table time:

  • Complaining.  About anything.  Kids will remember and resent that.  If all the parents do is spend the time at the table talking about how bad working is, what kind of attitude will the kids have toward finding work?  If you don't like the food, find a constructive way to alter the meal plan.  "You know what would go great with this chicken and rice?  Lasagna!"
  • Gag order.  Eating in silence is a gateway torture.
  • Eating is something every living organism needs to do on a daily basis to survive.  Don't make eating a directive, punishment, contest, bargaining chip, political movement, spectacle, or personality assessment.
  • The Table Time Mandate.  Sure.  Dinner might be at five-thirty every night.  But, you have to account for reality.  Table time won't be the same every night and trying to make it that way will diminish its appreciation.  Take into account that there will be nights (or mornings) when there is something else to do.  Allow that and plan as a family for the next meal/game time.
Sorry the post went a little long, but I wanted this to be the last in the Advocacy series.  Let me know if you agree/disagree.  Mention any other table time obstacles you have to deal with.  Ask me if you have any more table time questions.  Share with all of us what table time has done for you.

26 October, 2011

Now Boarding for Good Intentions

Writer's Wednesday!!!

How do you plan a vacation?  Drive to an airport, scan the board, pick a flight that sounds nice, see where it takes you, deal with changing money and finding lodging after you arrive, and then try to find out what you're even going to do while you're there?

I'll concede that some people can and do work that way, but they are in the minority.  Most of us first plan a vacation by what we want to do when we're there.  That's the reason to go.  If it's a generic want (beach, ski, someplace new...), then it comes down to how far you're willing/able to travel.  Is there a particular location where you want to be generic?

First knowing your intention before you write is paramount in writing.  If you wander aimlessly through the lexicon of the English language, seeing where it might take you, and then hope to find your intention once you get into it, then pretty please, with a cherry on top, destroy everything you wrote before you found your intention.

Your intention can be generic:

  • I want to write a story where a boy meets a girl, they fall in love, they separate, and then get back together never to be separated again.
  • I want to write a story about a group of powerful men that conspire to withhold true control of the world from everyone but themselves and only one person armed with plucky charm and a disbelieving sidekick can bring them down.
  • I want to write a story about the heartwarming drama of simple small lives that make us realize what being human really is and teaches us to want what we have, not have what we want.
But, if you're going to be generic, you better have some interesting destination or a platypus will repeatedly smack the back of your leg with a garden spade until you think of one.  Give us (your readers/audience) some indication that we haven't read this story, like, a bajillion times (even though we have).

It's important to note that the intention is not the pitch.  The pitch tells the whole story in one sentence (okay, maybe sometimes two).  The intention is the raison d'etre for what ever you are writing.  Having a clear intention, especially having a specific, unique, and clear intention, will bring you one step closer to realizing there's no such thing as writer's block.

Does everyone have their intention written out?  Good, now you're ready to go on vacation!

25 October, 2011

Ahhhbuuuum Eeoieeeee

The bug turns four months today.

Sure.  Yeah.  Not exactly a reason to bust out with a cake.  But, then again, any excuse for a cake is a good excuse.  There doesn't seem to be a whole lot of hype to the fourth month milestone.  (Just the typical photo of baby doing Upward-Facing Dog)  

Perhaps the fourth month changes are just not that easily captured in a photo.  All the motor skills and balancing and dexterity are starting, but not quite there.  It's a fun stage.  Exciting for both parent and child as we feed off each other's joy that "Ooo.  That was two seconds of sitting up by yourself.  If you hadn't looked over at the cat so fast, you might have stayed up longer." or "Yay!  You just grabbed the toy with both hands and put it right in your mouth (I can already see where today's encouragement becomes tomorrow's bane)." Especially seeing the bug light up when she realizes she's more capable makes the fourth month a big step in my eyes.

I've seen her frustrated at her limitations for quite a while now.  Her noticing when she's not as limited is new.  She'll try something (grab for a toy, try to right herself before toppling over, laugh while exhaling...) and it will work out the way she intended it to (for the most part).  That's when her eyes get wide and her jaw drops.  I crack up.  She smiles real big and does the four-limb shimmy.

One big, important development - talking.  Not really talking, per se.  It's more of an incessant rambling of vowels with the occasional soft consonant thrown in to keep the listener on his/her toes.  Kinda like the news. Where it gets difficult is when she wakes up for a bottle around three in the morning and gets all chatty.

I sit her in front of me (on the Boppy, on my lap, on the glider rocker) and listen while she regales me with what is clearly a rather amusing account of something.  I listen politely, playing the dumb foreigner by smiling, nodding, and generally pretending like I'm following along when, in fact, I'm waiting for her to run out of steam.  The other night, after a particularly edge-of-your-seat dramedy played for thirty minutes, I swear I heard her say, "Now let me tell you about my second minute of life."

If you've ever rented a Czechoslovakian comedy without subtitles by mistake, you have a pretty good idea of what I'm working with.  Not that I mind, say, around three in the afternoon.  For that matter, if I'm not trying to get back to sleep, I'll join in and we'll have long father-daughter talks using sounds that would make the Teletubbies scratch their heads.

It does beg the question.  How long can one engage in baby babble without it compromising the integrity of one's novel writing?  Considering I'm going for the commercial voice and eschewing the literary, I'll take my chances.  Wouldn't want to miss out on any of the bug's stories.

21 October, 2011

Advocacy of Table Time (Part III)

Family on Friday!!!

Last week, I shared my personal experiences of having an overly busy life and still holding a space for table time.  Before that, I wrote about how people get so lost and caught up in the busy life (with good intentions) that they can't quite seem to fit in time to eat, let alone be a family.  But, I decided to write this whole "Advocacy" saga to adequately respond to Gussie's comments on the original post about table time without gadgetry.  (Go, go, gadget salt-shaker.)

We no longer have the busy life we used to.  Wifey works Tuesday through Saturday, I work Saturday through Monday and every night, we have a nearly four month old baby girl, I'm writing a novel (and this blog), and you can get a better idea of our present laid-back lifestyle from my first post.

Three to four times a week, we pack up the bug and all go have dinner at grandma's.  Grandma also works.  We take turns cooking, all cook something together (the bug just supervises), or none of us cook and we splurge on any of the fine take-out available in the area.  We average about two hours at the table every time we meet.  That includes games with cookie prizes.

When we can't be at grandma's, wifey and I will have a quiet meal at home with the bug strapped down to a chair at the end of the table.  (start 'em early)  I know at some point having the bug strapped to a chair during meals will be considered abuse, but for now it's responsible.

We relish this time together.  The therapeutic benefits of deepening our tribal connections fuel us with the emotional and mental buffers we need to prevent being overtaken by the tide the rest of the world creates circling the drain.  Even if they're not related by blood or marriage, the people you hold on to and trust to hold you up at the worst of times are your family.  And this is a great time to sit at the same table.

Of course there are many right and many wrong ways to share table time.  But, let's save that for next week...

19 October, 2011

Don't Play Nice

Writer's Wednesday!!!

In Enigma's song "The Rivers of Belief," the lyrics say "If you believe in light, it's because of obscurity.  If you believe in joy, it's because of sadness.  And if you believe in God, it's because of the devil."

Opposing forces create conflict.  Conflict raises tension.  Tension invokes an emotional response.  Emotional responses separate bad writing from good writing.  If you've ever teared up during a Budweiser Super Bowl ad with a Clydesdale, you know what I'm talking about even if you don't know you know it.  Anything you write means more when there's risk involved.

Try to see how long you can keep the opposing forces separate, but affecting one another through their actions.  This not only escalates the tension, but builds a great amount of anticipation for their inevitable meeting.  (brilliant example: "Heat" directed by Michael Mann)  Constant bombardment of combat involving the opposing forces can be entertaining, but every direct contact releases that tension and it can be difficult to recreate.

Also be aware of easy, trite, random, or overused resolutions.  They not only invalidate your conflict and writing up to that point, but they also condemn your soul to an eternity of having your elbows banged up against the corner of your desk.  The resolution must come from your main character, demonstrate real growth, and be so organic to your story that everyone will know exactly what story everyone else is talking about just on the briefest of mentions.  (except lame random ones like falling frogs)

In real life, we learn and grow from our conflicts.  Your characters should, too.  If your character is not undeniably changed after overcoming the conflict he/her/they faced, then the conflict wasn't big enough or you cheated on the resolution.  Most people avoid conflict because of a fear of the change that must come from learning and growing.  This can be a very natural and sympathetic conflict for your character to overcome before the final conflict - Refusing to change.

There are as many different ways to create and resolve conflicts as there are people, forces, and ideals.  This post is meant more as a tip to make sure you have conflict.  See how much you can throw at your character before they snap.  Really test his/her/their metal.  The easier you are on them, the harder it will be for readers to care.

Does anyone out there have a favorite story that didn't have conflict?  Anyone?  Anyone?

18 October, 2011

Milkin' It For All It's Worth

With the bug, even the most mundane of tasks becomes an adventure.
  • The planning phase
  • The gearing up phase
  • The crossing of the threshold
  • The initial execution of the plan
  • The point of no return
  • The total revision of the plan
  • The break in the action
  • The regrouping for accomplishing the main goal
  • Victory
  • The return home
  • The nap
Last week the bug and I had to go get milk and eggs.  To help justify making an hour round trip for milk and eggs, we decided to tack on a trip to the credit union and, consequentially, at least another half-hour.

Allow me to explain the poor man's sound machine.  Now, I'm sure there are CD's out there of recorded white noise.  I could probably even find an app.  However, when you're already driving and the WubbaNub has been mysteriously flung to the far reaches of the backseat much to the dismay of said WubbaNub's proxy, then finding the nearest music store and illegally fumbling with one's phone doesn't help.  (By the way, I understand the safety reasons for requiring that the child be placed in a rear-facing car seat in the back.  But, do they understand the hazard?)  So, in the aforementioned situation, seems the best thing to do is to tune into a frequency that doesn't pick up any radio signals and crank that puppy.

Right.  So.   Milk and eggs.  Everything was going smoothly.  Banking was a breeze (actually a credit union, but no one says "credit unioning."  At least not yet.), but the poor bug is a little over everything made for an infant having an impressive set of buckles pulling on nylon straps.  She's a good sport about it, but every girl has her limits.  Well, she reached hers just a few aisles away from the eggs.  That's when I remembered the WubbaNub was still in the car.

You know?  For about three seconds, I actually thought the fussing might sort itself out.  It's that feeling you get when you're foolish enough to think that a pot couldn't possibly boil over, the fizz couldn't possibly spill over the edge of the glass, or the toilet water will magically go back down once it reaches the edge.  No... she couldn't possibly go into a three-stage meltdown (limbs out, face red, quivering voice cry).

Of all the fathers pushing their three (almost four) month old baby girls around a grocery store at two in the afternoon on a Friday, I have to be the one that everybody looks at like I just snagged the cart and kid and tried to break for the door before the distracted mother knew what hit her.  So, I smiled at the crowd, unbuckled, unbuckled, and unbuckled, loosened the nylon so it wouldn't scrape against her neck and make matters worse, and scooped her up into a hug to look over my shoulder.

As if I pushed a button on a toy doll, she completely changed moods.  I measured the integrity of the eggs with one arm while she flirted and smiled at anyone still looking her way.  She kept racking up the compliments as I made my way to the milk.  Wouldn't you know the first gallon was all squashed on top and I had one arm to move it and get the unsquashed one from behind it?  The bug didn't mind.  She was too busy pulling a Palin.

Not wanting to press my luck, I dismissed the idea of getting any other grocery items to justify the gas.  She "helped" me zip through the self-check, no-bag it, and we walked back to the car.  She didn't fuss too much about getting strapped down again.  We drove up the coastline home to the dulcet sounds of static.  Mission accomplished.

This week:  I'm using those damn eggs.

14 October, 2011

Advocacy of Table Time (Part II)

Family on Friday!!!

Last week I kicked off my Advocacy of Table Time series with my version of Gussie's response to the week before's Table Time in the Modern Age post.  (Lost yet?)  And yes, it is very easy to get knee deep in life.  Keep in mind that all of those things beckoning you hither and yon are someone else's show.  Present blog included.

They care a lot for their show.  They need an audience.  And they will run their show at their convenience, not yours.  That's one way this blog (and other such 'shows') are more considerate.  We just put it out there and let you come by and check it out at your leisure.  You're welcome.

I got wrapped up in other people's shows during my high school years.  Art club.  Junior Classical League.  French Club.  School Literary Magazine.  Junior Civitan.  Cross Country.  Track.  Basketball at the Y.  Baseball in the local Pony League.  Bowling League.  Fencing.  Hanging out down the street with my best friend.  Dating.  A job.  Twelve hours of homework every night (yeah, right).

And still, several times a week, I took the time to eat dinner with my family.  Often we'd break out a game afterward (like Mille Bornes, Clue, Rummy, Poker, Scrabble, Risk...  tiles, cards, and/or dice abound).  It was a great way for all of us to forget (not rant) about how hard the day was.  When I couldn't be home for dinner, I really felt like I was missing out on the party.

The trend continued at college, where I really became an overachiever.  I started acting in plays.  Had a dual major.  Took officer roles in several student clubs.  Co-edited the yearbook.  Served as a R.A.  Started the Movie Night event in the student union.  And generally got involved, earning a spot on the "Who's Who."

Tables were everything.  A group of us would meet in the cafeteria everyday (some just to get a drink or ice cream) and sit to talk and make each other laugh.  And then again, at the end of the day, a smaller group of us would meet around a table in the lobby of a dorm to become more of a family.  And then, even after that, a smaller group of us would go off to the student union to play table games (RPGs, cards, etc.).  Those friends that I spent table time with back then are still in my life many years and thousands of miles later.

After college, I kept finding tables to join and still make the time today.  But, we'll talk about that next week...

12 October, 2011

Writer's (Chopping) Block

Writers' Wednesday!!!

There's no such thing as writer's block.  It's a myth.  Made up by trickster spirits like goblins, sprites, and fauns. And if you believe in writer's block, I've got a unicorn farm priced to sell.

A few noteworthy issues that keep the legend of writer's block alive more effectively than that silly photo of Bigfoot:

  • Subconscious awareness that you shouldn't write what you're trying to write because it's wrong
  • Laziness
  • Dawning realization that you don't know your topic well enough
  • Break time
I suspect that the majority of what people call writer's block has to do with the first issue.  Admit it.  We all get these marvelous epiphanies of the best story we've never written and then the deeper we get into it, the more we realize it's one of those microwave burritos that stay frozen in the middle and that doesn't matter a whole lot, because if it was cooked all the way through, it'd still be a horrible, tasteless mess.

I thought I had writer's block for a couple weeks about ten years ago.  (It wasn't writer's block.)  It was a plot hole large enough to run a super highway through.  I paved around the hole, finished the story, and only realized a few years ago that the screenplay I wound up with had two scenes that touched on my original story idea.  The whole script was otherwise well-written crap that the brads barely wanted to hold on to.

The second issue merits elaboration...  (but I don't feel like doing it).

A lot of people say, "write what you know."  I say, "write what you love."  If you truly love a subject enough, you will enjoy researching all the aspects of it necessary to build the backstory and knowledge base you will need.  The love will shine up through the page (or screen) like blowing kisses to your reader (audience).  Having a love and understanding of your subject means gushing all over the page.  You'll be too busy trying to fit all the words into the parameters of your format to be able to blame anything on the writer's block fairy.

The last issue of my (not entirely exhaustive) list deals with recharging after mental fatigue.  If you've been pounding at the keyboard for sometime, have cracked your knuckles to the point where you bend them mindlessly even without the satisfying popping noise, and/or find yourself making five detours on the way back from the bathroom, then you have just been warned to reconnect your charger, my friend.  Not writer's block.  So, take a walk, shower, nap.  Go dance, exercise, cook.  Just get away from the writing until you have got to get the words down or else the Universe as we know it will cease to exist.

I'm sure there are many more issues masquerading as writer's block.  Anyone care to share some?  Wanna comment on the points above?  Be my guest!

11 October, 2011

Ring Duck For Service

Swaddles have never been much of a challenge for the bug.  We've tried a few recommended baby origami patterns and the Swaddle Me with death-grip-louder-than-it-needs-to-be velcro.  Doesn't matter much.  She can free her arms in her sleep...  With one arm tied behind her back...

The swaddling has been critical and we couldn't have done without it.  She doesn't always remember how to fall asleep and often, when she does, that crazy startle reflex can put a quick end to some hard won nappage.  Yet, swaddling isn't forever, right?  Don't misunderstand.  She's a great sleeper.  (Except when she's not.)

I try to encourage the bug to develop a better hand-eye coordination (Are they making video games for babies yet?) and this seems to be increasing her options for some rather creative swaddle twisting.  A few times I've had to unlock the baby to feed and/or change her.  At least she laughs about it.  (She's not always pleasant to be around when she's impatient.)

This last week a new thing has started.  The sound of a rattle when she should be swaddled.  (We have wrist rattles at the ready on the sides of her bassinet.)  I walk up to her and who knows how long she's been awake or what came first: the free arm, or the wakefulness.  Then I watch her have a grand ol' time smacking that duck-faced wrist rattle like a speed bag, calling out De La Hoya.

We're not quite at the point yet where she can get her quality sleep without the swaddle.  Yet, we're passed the point where it's all that effective.  I don't think there is a hard and fast rule for when to discontinue swaddle use because the answers I've seen have all been vague.  "When it's no longer working."  Define working.  "When she can get out of it."  (Uhhhhh...)

Does anyone have any clarity out there?  If she's gettin' all million-dollar-baby on us, do we just have her figure out for herself how to be still enough to fall asleep and stay asleep?  Or are her calisthenics going to eat into her beauty sleep?  What do you think?

07 October, 2011

Advocacy of Table Time (Part I)

Family on Friday!!!

Commenting on last week's post, Gussie pointed out that not only our handy-dandy electronic devices divide us, but that the drawing power of the outside world beckons us to leave our homes in such a rush that tables become a depository of sorts.  (I admittedly paraphrased and took liberties, but you can read her comments at the bottom of the post if you're that curious.)

Let me start off Part I of my continued advocacy of table time as a cornerstone of family solidarity by saying it doesn't have to, and probably can't in some cases, be an every night thing (or mornings...  I could go for mornings).  Making it a chore doesn't help.  Kinda makes it counterproductive.

But, if you cannot meet as a family around the table for at least a full meal, dessert, and one game on a weekly basis, then there is a serious problem.  The subtext to leading such a busy life is "my family is not as important as these other things."  Probably isn't how you feel, but actions are paramount in interpersonal relationships.  They define our character (as I've learned in numerous writing classes).

So, yeah.  At least once a week.  There are days when kiddos will want to sleep over at a friend's house.  And days when parentals will want the kiddos to sleep over at a friend's house.  Some days, you'll scarcely see your bed, let alone a table.  (Interesting how some people get a nice home, fill it with nice stuff, and then barely even sleep there.)

The busy lifestyle is quite simple really.

  • Live an hour from work
  • Work a little extra because 110% is the new minimum
  • Have the kids cram eight completely different classes in their day, each of which is supposed to assign two hours of homework for every hour in class
  • Let the kids join a few clubs (gotta nurture their interests), a sport, and take lessons for fill-in-the-blank
  • Join some clubs yourself
  • Volunteer
  • Be an active part of your community
  • Now pick and choose on a daily basis who's being run where to meet the right-after-work/school activities that will run up to the start of the next one (grab dinner on the way)
  • Spend time socializing with the people at the end of the second activity who, for some reason, never have anything to do
  • Get home sometime before midnight
  • Feed the pets and let them out in the yard
  • Help kids with homework or trust they are while you flip through the DVR
  • Rinse, sleep, repeat
We do it to ourselves.  As a writer, I am fascinated by everything.  Yes.  Everything.  You name it.  I'm most likely fascinated by it (I know a few people are only thinking of challenging me now and getting off topic).  So, I wanted to (and almost did) participate where ever they would have me.  Even so, throughout my whole life I have relished my table time and worked it into the schedule.  But, that's the topic for Part II...

05 October, 2011

It's a Free Country, Isn't it?

Writers' Wednesday!

Never write for free.

In case you missed that:

Never.  Write.  For.  Free.

That's my new mantra.  I have been willing to do all kinds of things for free in hopes that someone will see my genius and make it up in spades.  Have you ever seen a music video directed for free when the group didn't take it seriously and the manager and producer wasted the better part of two days changing the plans, only to call the whole thing done when less than half of the shots were in the can?  Let's just say no one would be knocking on my door (they were too busy locking theirs).

I've also acted for free (well, for a copy of the finished product to add to my reel), giving my best work and doing very physical stunts.  I never received a copy.  The work never snowballed into easy street.

I can't even count the times I've written free copy to help someone out (and hopefully get samples to use to seduce paying clients).  What happened was I made myself into a creative whore.  That's probably not the best term to use...  whores get paid.

Regardless, (as I will undoubtedly be telling the bug when she's older) no one will respect you if you don't first respect yourself.  Why would anyone pay good money in an economy such as this when they can get your best efforts for the cost of the air they breathe?

Novels, screenplays, articles, short stories, and (to a much, much lesser extent) poetry should be considered deferred pay.  No one's paying me now, but just wait fifteen years...  or more.  I'm not even writing this blog for free.  You think it's free because you haven't paid any money to read this.  Still, my blog is upping my potential earnings from hopeful to possible.  (hey, I've got the bug and wifey to consider)

If you've ever asked a writer to work for free, or questioned why writers should be paid at all, shame on you! Would you expect that of any other profession?  Have any of you writers turned free work into financial independence?  (didn't think so)

04 October, 2011

Verizon Should Do Hot Water Heaters

The first week of transition is behind us.  Whew.  For those of you keeping score at home:  Words - 3,993;  Diapers - 3,994.

3,993 words in my first week of solo parenting!  And I'm just talking novel here (not blogging, commenting, status updating, tweeting, texting, chatting, signing, googling, grocery listing, or Words With Friendsing).  As long as I don't compare to my previous production numbers, I can be very proud.  I did that while:

  • feeding
  • changing
  • dressing (the bug and myself)
  • cleaning (mostly the bug)
  • some of the cooking
  • laundry
  • shaving and showering (twice!)
  • chasing wifey a quarter mile down a dirt road in flip-flops, waving bags of veggies (miscommunication)
  • having lunch with wifey everyday
  • a few dinners at grandma's
  • grocery shopping
  • reading Skippyjon Jones (that crazy kitten), et al.
  • scouring over dozens of stamps (don't ask... please)
  • spending many quality hours with the fine Verizon tech folks
  • dealing with a plumber (and the issues leading up to such a necessity)
  • Some rather quick night work and not so quick weekend work
  • catching up on sleep
  • and gaining a few pounds
Can I get some validation?  Almost four thousand words.  This brings my new total for words in the novel to...  Are you ready for this?


Hey, I'm getting there.  4K a week is not going to be fast enough to keep me happy forever.  Any suggestions out there for what to do this week to squeeze a few more words out?  (I've already planned on spending less time with Verizon and plumbers, but I do have a doctor's appointment.)