Wednesday, August 31, 2022

In It

Continuing on with several milestone moments over here.

I'm writing this from the tiny but charming Burlington International Airport in Vermont. Dan and I are leaving our firstborn child in this lovely state while we jet home.

He's staying here for college, a fact I can't believe.

Here are some things that happened on this quick trip:

  • We discovered again that Shef's college campus is gorgeous and sprawling. There are mountains and valleys and lots of lush greenery. It's Middlebury College.
  • Kids from his new cross country team met us at the dorm and helped us carry his stuff to the second and top floor. Then, when we didn't have the code for entering the dorm room, they made multiple phone calls to figure it out and toured us around to kill the time while we waited. This was great because we visited Middlebury for the first (and only other) time during Covid and didn't get to see much of anything. 
  • Shef's dorm itself is in shocking disrepair. I'm not kidding. I mean, it's pretty much a shithole. There's a big brown water stain on the ceiling in his room, the hallways smell like mildew and urine, and the carpet is the very definition of threadbare. Dan remarked on entry, "Wow! It's like you're in prison!"
  • Despite the conditions, the board is still quite expensive.
  • Despite the conditions, Shef is happy and excited and all the cross country runners seemed awesome. Some of them had previously lived in that same dorm (which will be destroyed, perhaps by fire, next summer) and have lived to tell the tale.
  • We left him there about five hours ago, and he has not texted me. When will he text me?
When will he text me?

Tuesday, July 26, 2022

Some Pretty Decent News

I won't beat around the bush: I think I'm ready to write and rewrite the first act of my new book. I have a bunch of out-of-order vignettes of what I'm calling The One and Only Sadie Jones at the moment, but as of this morning, I also have an outline for the first act of the book.

It's important for everyone to know that the outline will change, and the beginning will change. It's an inevitability. 

But, I'm pretty excited to get to work on a chunk--50 pages-ish?--that people can actually read. I think I've got most of the pieces already drafted, which is even more thrilling. This means that I get to use Revision Color One (red, probably), and the differences between the first crappy version and the second will astound me and make me feel productive and worthy.

I know from my outline that there are a couple of few new scenes I know I have to draft. One or two of these involve rodents. I used to think the mice were just there and menacing and designed to make us feel like Sadie is in over her head in her new apartment, but now I think they're a neighbor's escaped pet rats. This makes it so she can have a friend who doesn't have her same name. And the neighbor will be quirky and confounding because she has rats.

Is that confusing? Well. Just wait. We'll write it, and then it will be clear.

Thursday, July 21, 2022

A Restful Summer

I've been working hard, but I've also been resting hard this summer. I think it's good. I'll confess: I've taken at least one nap on each day of the summer so far. I close my eyes, and most of the time, I fall asleep for 20-40 minutes.

Part of this is just a middle-aged willingness to accept my limitations. Part of it is that we finally got a new bed that I find to be irresistible. Part of it is that I have been running quite a lot, and then resting is a natural counterpart to that. I just like napping, as it turns out.

I hoping the naps have been reducing my cortisol. They've definitely been improving my mood, as I've been generally quite cheerful even though I've experienced a couple of setbacks.

I'm not sure that daily naps are sustainable all year long, but perhaps I can prioritize them in the school year. I'm already quite good at Saturday and Sunday afternoon naps. I'd give my napping ability at solid 10/10.

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

Status Report

Tour de France:

It's happening, and I've been watching it. It's weird to me that everyone in cycling, at least in the past, has just been a convicted doper, and now it's sort of just accepted and fine. I did watch that Lance Armstrong documentary during Covid, and I sort of felt like, well, if everyone is using drugs and Lance is still the best, then do we really care? If no one was doping, he might also still be the best. I did some cursory googling about this issue, and it seems like now the doping is just more on an individual and micro-dosing level, rather than team sponsored. I mean, okay.

Book Work:

I have written 10, 250 words of the Sophie Jones book since Mac has been at camp. I've also emailed a synopsis to my agent. We can agree this is excellent progress.

Running:

In a momentary lapse of judgment and self-preservation, I have agreed to race a mile on Sunday. Lucky for me, Shef volunteered to be my pace buddy, so now it won't be as bad as it might have been if he hadn't done that.

Tuesday, July 5, 2022

Camp Departure

Today's the day Mac leaves us for three weeks at camp. He's very excited, can't wait to get on the bus, and claims he won't miss us at all. He resisted purchasing the required camp supply of stationery because he claims he won't be writing to us at all ever. I reminded him that the camp staff will require him to write once per week. We bought the stationery.

It's hard for me to imagine a better place for a fourteen-year-old boy than camp. He'll have a ton of autonomy in a youth-centered community. He'll have opportunities to create real and lasting relationships. There are wholesome mentors and thoughtful scaffolding for both physical and emotional growth.

I'm a camp enthusiast, and I'm happy for Mac. But I'd also like for him to write me some letters and pretend to miss me just a little bit.

Saturday, July 2, 2022

20k3

We're in the Salt Lake City airport returning from a very pleasant trip to Park City, Utah. While we were on vacation, we engaged in various mountain adventures.

One highlight was a tour of Utah Olympic Park, site of the 2002 Olympic Ski Jumping, Bobsledding, and Luge Competitions. Our guide was two-time Olympian Casey Larson. He told us he is 5'10 and 135 pounds. These stats were relevant to our tour because ski jumpers are better if they're very small. The minimum BMI for men is 18.5, which is not a very big BMI. I wanted to ask, but did not, about the prevalence of eating disorders among ski jumpers.

In addition to these facts about jumping, I discovered that luge is the most dangerous of the winter sports. Conversely, Casey claims that ski jumping has the lowest rate of injury. I specifically asked about regular cross country skiing, as I was skeptical of the safety of launching oneself off a ramp into the air. But Casey said that even though they're going fast down that very steep jumping ramp, they're not that high above the ground in their flying squirrel positions. He also said that the regular nordic skiiers are more prone to overuse injuries.

Later, I got to ride a tube down the ski jump hill (not the ramp part, but the part you land on out of the air). It was extremely steep and scary, and I screamed the whole way down. I had to wear a helmet to do that, so it seemed plenty dangerous to me.

Now that I'm finished with vacation, I'm committing to writing 20 thousand words in the next three weeks on my fourth novel. So, there will likely be a whole lot of blogging along with that.

Monday, June 20, 2022

Warming Up

Second week of summer, ready set go.

Time to get serious about all manner of things, including Sophie and George, the main characters of my fourth novel. I mean, I hope it's my fourth novel. It's iteration #3 of novel four, so this is manuscript 4.3, I guess.

Except that I wrote another partial book before Minor Dramas, so maybe it's 5.3? Whatever, I think it's best not to think too hard about the numbering system.

I have a good feeling about Sophie and George, anyway. I think they're going to have a good story and fall in love while solving a crime together. Doesn't that sound utterly delightful? There will be some bumps along the way and plenty of quirks.

One of the quirks is that Sophie strongly believes in fate and omens. I have a running list of omens that will appear in the book. I'm excited about those. I'm writing with my crystals by my side, after all.

To be honest, I wish we could fast forward a little bit to the part where I have most of the details worked out and I could just be cranking out chapters in some sort of more-or-less order, but we're not there. We're never going to get there. We just have do things organically as we always have and that's that.

Onward.