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Not the greatest success rate

Why is it that any time I make a plan, I can be sure something will come along to scuttle it?

Four days ago, I started on my quest to write early mornings. Since then, I've succeeded exactly 1.5 times. The first day I already wrote about. The second morning was a wash because Junebug had a fever* that kept both of us up late, so I was too tired to get out of bed early. The third morning was better, the most successful of them all, and a good indication of how things might go if I can ever get on a roll with this plan.

This morning was a no-go, again due to interrupted sleep: Sprout waking me because she was thirsty and then repeatedly dealing with Junebug's fever.

I have managed to finish chapters one and two and quite like the flow between them. Now I'm starting on chapter three, which is the block I just couldn't get past last time I was writing.  This time around, I'm just going to keep writing until I hit upon something I like. If I write thousands of throw-away words in the meantime, so be it.

* It doesn't seem to be anything serious, just teething

A nice try

I've decided I'm going to try to write in the mornings, when Junebug wakes me for a nursing session. This usually happens around 5:30 or 6, and I try to fall back asleep afterwards. The plan is to let him go back to sleep but stay up myself and write while the house is still quiet and distraction-free.  I've been trying to write at night, and my insomnia is having a heyday. Story-making is not conducive to the calm thoughts and empty(ish) mind I need to fall asleep.

This morning, I woke up by myself at exactly 5:30, expecting to hear Junebug. Nothing. So, silly me, instead of just getting up, I dozed until he cried at 6:20. I nursed him and put him back to bed around 6:40, but Sprout got up. :-<  She was pretty good about leaving me alone but didn't give me the 100% solitude and calm I craved.  Then of course Junebug got up at 7:30.

My first try wasn't a success, but I'm aiming for an early night and a second go in the morning.

Snippet Sunday

Another week of writing on Witherwilds.  I finished my edits of chapter two and doubled back to work on chapter one. Most of the week I felt stymied by "this is not good enough" fears and did more staring at the page than writing.

I finally found an opening idea that appealed to me and summoned my courage to commit words to paper, convincing the silly Perfectionist Brain that there is little likelihood of perfection right now and "serviceable" will suffice.

So, I give you words, far from perfect, but perfectly serviceable:

Srila had duty on the Songwall just before sunrise, so the melodies she hummed to her plants did not involve her songsacs, just simple power-less tunes she sometimes crooned to her daughter. Moving through the jungle on her terrace, she startled a pair of night monkeys who were gorging themselves at the fruit platter Lelo had left out for them. The monkeys hooted in displeasure and scampered up the trunk of her coconut palm. From there, they flung themselves into a mango tree growing next to the iemodi, their bodies black comets that blotted out the stars.

* I have no monkey icons, so have a lemur instead.

Only in Egypt

...OK, probably not only in Egypt, but it makes for a good subject line.

There is a young man with "interesting" ideas and ethics who works in the boutique on the ground floor of our building. The other day he told Julien, "Hey, I know of a car for sale for 40,000 EGP*. You could pay half, I'll pay half, and we'll split the use of the car. You'll have it during the day, and I'll drive it from 9:00 p.m. on."

Um, yeah, that is not going to happen. Not only for practical reasons but because the young fellow thinks, among other things, thinks it is perfectly normal not to go to his classes and offers his teachers bribes to say he attended classes and give him passing grades exams he never studies for....

Today, our housekeeper told me, "Wow, it's been really cool these past few days." The lowest temperature these days was 34.5˚C (94.1˚F)  Admittedly, this is better than the 42˚C(108˚F) we had when we got back to Egypt, and the 55˚C(131˚F) that hit the country just before our return.

Had another to share, but it seems to have slipped my mind. Maybe I'll remember later.
*  about 5,100 USD / 4400 euros

Snippet Sunday

Hold on to your hats, folks. You are going to get an actual writing snippet this Sunday.

Thanks to excessive prodding and no little abuse encourgagement from frigg, I have dusted off my Witherwilds file, as you may have gathered from my post on insomnia.

About two years have lapsed since I worked on this project, so there is quite a bit of dust to clear off files and out of the corners of my mind.

My plan is to proceed with the rewriting of the opening of book 1, hopefully reach a stage where old stuff can still stand, and then turn my attention to completing book 2.  But more than anything, more than setting goals, lofty or otherwise, the plan is to keep working on it.

Sola’li slipped out of the courtesy lodge before dawn and smiled to find Open City engulfed in mist. She could not have planned a more perfect help to her morning’s business. Patting the low bun she wore in hopes of being mistaken for a songless woman, she peered up and down the street. Overly cautious was better than caught. Movement across the way made her pause, hand still to her hair. She shifted deeper into the shadow of the lintel.

I also finished draft two of my nonfiction picture book.

Oh, and I made Junebug a pair of shorts. 

Give me five

...or ten. :P

When I saw these oblong stones at the lake this summer, I thought of you, pjthompson, and those cute feet you posted, so this is for you:

What would you do?

I've been fighting insomnia* for the last hour, to no avail. So instead of tossing and turning in frustration, let me ask you a question, O Great Hivemind of Fellow Writers!

When you've left a project fallow for an extended amount of time, how do you get back into it?

Do you dive in right where you left off, with no priming of the pump, working purely from memory with what and where you think you need to go?

Do you reread the prose you wrote and pick it up from there? All of it or just a scene or two?

Do you peruse notes and outlines first to get the juices flowing?

Something else entirely?

On another writing-related note, do those of you who are known for (or personally feel you have the knack of) writing relatable characters put yourselves in the characters' skin when writing? Do you visualize yourself as the character interacting with the story world? Can you put your finger on what you do?

This sort of roleplaying does not come naturally to me, and I constantly find myself distracted and pulled out of the "game" by my own wandering thoughts, leading me to the conclusion that this technique "just isn't me." I'd like to persist, though, and try to master it because I WANT to write characters that readers love to love and love to hate. Such roleplaying might be a good way to accomplish that.

I also wonder if I have a hard time doing it because I lack empathy on some level. Before I lead you to think I'm some kind of heartless monster, let me clarify by saying that I do feel for others and am able to understand their feelings. But it is easier when their situation is not connected to mine. When I'm involved, I'm too often concerned with and overwhelmed by Self. I usually have to have some distance before I can see the other side's point/feelings in a confrontation. especially when I myself have strong feelings or a sense of rightness. Are those of you who are better character writers, so to speak, more immediately empathic, perhaps?

Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.

And perhaps I should not be permitted to make blog posts when I'm sleep deprived. :P

*This is the resulf of discomfort--it's too hot--but also of writing. When my brain starts playing with words, sleep becomes elusive...

Summer project - Chicken coop

Last year, my mother-in-law started toying with the idea of getting a couple of egg-laying chickens. This summer, we helped her make that a reality.

First there was much cleaning of the site, a bit of land under some pine trees that was overrun by brambles, ivy, and pokeweed. The MIL and I were alone for this bit:

Look at those mounds of ivy runners. I had to use a weedwhacker to cut them because had we continued pulling, we would still be trying to get them all and would likely have uprooted the yard all the way to the house:

Future hen yard all cleaned up and staked out:

MIL and I then did a lot of research and planning and taking apart transport pallets. In the end, we didn't use the pallets. J's brother was able to get a lot of the wood for free.  We took the work-in-progress photos with his camera, so I don't have any of that to show.

Putting in a stone path in hopes of keeping MIL's boots more or less muck free when she goes to inside the hen yard. She can collect the eggs without entering the enclosure:

Remember those 4.5 tons of gravel I talked about shifting? We used the extra to try to keep the perimeter of the enclosure from being overrun again by ivy:

The two ladies, Lily and Cerise (Cherry), named by Sprout because "Lily has a pointy comb like a lily and Cerise's comb is round."

All the workers:

I can take most of the credit for the building design. J's bro did the plans, all fancy like on his computer, and then built the coop. :P  J did the fencing and gate (he went up the mountain and fetched wood for all the posts, etc, more money saved!).

Good practice for the Someday Farm...only our coop will be much bigger!

Little Miss Magnificent

aka Luna.

Remember the little rescue kitten?

She was still in pitiful shape before we left for the summer, but three months and many doses of ringworm meds have done her wonders.



N'Djema has come around, and the two play together, but Luna, six months old--give or take a few weeks--can already pin her.  N'Djema has lost weight. We don't know if it is the heat, the extra exercise, or stress. She looks well, in any case. 

Sunday Snippet

As predicted last Sunday, I got little done on the creative front this week. I did, however, have some ideas that I found worth jotting down concerning Witherwilds. Most notable among them was deciding what had caused a rift between two characters was not what I thought it was. I'm pleased with this new turn because it helps draw one of the POVs a little more clearly in my mind.

My hope this week is to get my art supplies set up in a way that I can work on my illustrations without always having to pack everything up once I've finished. Oh, and to actually start drawing again. :P

We'll see if Witherwilds continues to be chatty.


wayfaring wordhack
The Wayfarer

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