Wednesday, October 31, 2007

NaBloPoMo, Here I Come

So tomorrow begins the blogging extravaganza that is NaBloPoMo. I'm actually pretty excited.

I'll give you a rundown of how things stand for tonight, on the eve of the insanity:

Novel: page 459, about half a chapter left to go. End deliciously in sight. Today was the projected end date, but I'm guessing Saturday is more reasonable. I know I keep pushing it back. What if it never ends and I just write this forever?

Reading: Good Omens by Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett (Hooray! Reading again!)

Flip flops: Covered in cat shit

Trick-or-Treaters: None

Tires deflated by highschool students: 2

Money: None

Saved up posts for NaBloPoMo: 2

Novel 2: In the note-taking stage

Planned writing project with best friend Kasey: still projected for November. Feeling hopeful.

May God give me strength. And wine.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Attention: I Have Won Another Costume Contest!

Inspired by 30 Days of Night, Michelle, Thomas and I went as a kindred of vampires.

We were scary.

We won the scariest costume prize.

The prize itself was very scary. It looked like a fake camera on a keychain, but this morning, when I looked in it, it was filled with pictures of naked men.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Obligatory Page Count


Two chapters to go.

I'm almost there.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Rocking the Dirndl

Page count: 371
Chapters to go: 4

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Forgive Me, Folks. It's Gonna Be A Long One.

I've had an eventful 24 hours.

Thomas and my friend Michelle have been dying to see 30 Days of Night, so after much finagling we managed to secure tickets to opening night. I was not excited to see it at all. I don't do horror movies well--usually I spend the two hours either trying to wrench Thomas's hand from his body or with my face buried in his shoulder, whimpering. I was also very freaked by the previews--that whole "No God" sequence had me peeing me my pants and my school kids, having figured this out, spent the week raising their hands and saying "No God" when I approached them.

Thomas suggested, wisely, that I might do better if I read the graphic novel first, so that at least I'd be familiar with what was going to happen, and wouldn't suffer terribly from repeated shock. You can startle me repeatedly. Like, twice in 30 seconds, seriously.

So I read it, and I absolutely hated it. I thought the artwork was odd and distracting and the plot almost non-existent. There was no dialogue in this book--it was all description. The characters were indistinct, and what plot there was often took seemingly meaningless turns. I was unimpressed, and even less excited about seeing it.

All that said, I really liked the movie. The plot was still horrible, though they took out some of the dangling ends of the book, which was nice. The characters were much better rendered, but still essentially stock characters. But it was so visually arresting and beautiful. I loved the way the vampires looked and moved and spoke--and it was shot very starkly against all the snow--the people really looked Alaskan--just kind of rugged and weather beaten. I never, ever, say this: in fact, it may be a first--I didn't mind the story because it was so interesting to look at.

In general, I hate movies like that. I'm story or nothing. I don't care if it was shot in a basement on someone's video camera if the story is good. I'm the opposite of a film buff--when we watch movies, Thomas is all, Oh the cinematography and I'm kind of like, what's cinematography? My feeling is that the way a movie is made is important only in how it helps to tell the story--much like writing. But this was awesome. I've spent the day making vampire noises and have decided to try to be a vampire for Halloween, though I've been planning to be The Log Lady from Twin Peaks all year.

So we went to Goodwill to shop for Halloween costumes, and I got 5 black dresses and went into the dressing room. If there were a camera in those dressing rooms, someone would be very amused to watch a 30 year old woman trying on dresses while baring her teeth and hissing at herself in the mirror.

Part Two of this post contains Harry Potter discussion and Deathly Hallows SPOILERS. You've been warned.

So, I woke up this morning at 7 and was immediately greeted with the news that Dumbledore is gay.

Which is startling, only insomuch as I always thought of Dumbledore as asexual. I never bought into the fanfic idea that he was secretly with McGonagall--in fact, I find all fanfic concerning Dumbledore to be a bit squicky. This is just not a sexual dude. The man was 116 when he died, for God's sake.

I am completely untroubled by the idea of Dumbledore being gay--and I'd like to add because of all the online backlash, that being gay does not make a person a pedophile--what bothers me is how the notion that he was in love with Grindelwald changes the story so significantly.

I was in a small camp of people who was unfazed by the complication of Dumbledore's character in Deathly Hallows. The things we learned there didn't detract, for me, from who Dumbledore became. I like him as a more complicated character than just the stereotypical wise old man.

But we learn in DH that Dumbledore struggled with the idea of going to fight Grindelwald, that he put it off as long as he possibly could because he was tormented over the death of his sister Ariana--that he was terrified to confront Grindelwald because he was afraid that he would learn that it was he himself who had fired the curse that killed her. The idea that he was in love with Grindelwald changes that significantly to me--it makes the struggle less about the Ariana and the complications of Dumbledore's family that we learned about--and more about his relationship with this man.

So, ok. That aside, it seems strange to me that someone whose great love turned out to be essentially the Hitler of the book, whom he had to conquer and subsequently, we assume, decides that love, much like power, is not for him is the same man who believes so steadfastly in the power of love. Not just the power of love, but the ability of love to destroy evil. It confuses the message for me.

Just to reiterate: Dumbledore being gay does not confuse the message for me. What's confusing is that JKR says he was in love with Grindelwald.

Then we went to Octoberfest to see my friend Kimberley playing a coronet and wearing a dirndl, because who wouldn't want to see that?

Oh, dear. It seems pictures are still broken. Oh well. I'll try again tomorrow.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Sunday, October 14, 2007

A Pocket Full of Posies

It's been an eventful week.

My friend Michelle has been housesitting an amazing mansion style house with a big pool. On Thursday (the day the weather finally turned cold, naturally) I went over there and swam. My first and probably only swimming of the year. It was fun, but freezing. There was a West Highland Terrier there who rode around the pool on a surfboard. If only I'd taken pictures.

On Wednesday, I contracted the Black Death (tm) from one of my six-year-olds. Swimming in the subzero temperatures did nothing to cure me. (I'd had high hopes for the sterilization effects of chlorine).

By Friday, I was in bad, bad shape.

Saturday, I was contemplating euthenasia.

But then I went to see a production of Lost Highway: The Hank Williams Story, which was beautifully sung and acted, and though I cried when we got there because I realized I had to pee after we'd been seated in a packed house and would not be able to pee for 2 and a half hours, I enjoyed it immensely. I then tried the sterilization effects of two glasses of wine and a fine conversation with my friend Steve at the bar. Perhaps as ill advised as swimming, but it worked.

I awoke today feeling weak but on the mend. Go wine! The wine in question, should it work for others, was a Pinot Gris called The Four Graces. It is made in a steel drum rather than an oak cask, giving it no wood flavor at all and a stronger taste of flowers than fruit. Very, very good. And medicinal to boot!

Page count: 336

Read: Marley and Me by John Grogan
Reading: Circles on the Water by Marge Piercy

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Love Letters to Myself

Yeah, I know. When I'm not writing, I'm blogging about writing. I can't help it. I'm in love with writing. I want to marry writing and have its novel babies.

Today I hit page 305. And I just wanted to blog that, so that if it all falls apart when I'm done with this project and I never write again, I can always look at my own archives and remember that one time? I wrote 300 consecutive pages. If I had a drink, I'd toast myself. Because I've never done this before and it feels like magic. I want to do this forever, and yet I can hardly imagine living at this sort of breakneck pace for life. Please God, let it never end. And yet, please God, let me finish this successfully. I just want to finish and prove to myself that I can do it. It seems like, if I can do that, I can write. It wasn't all for nothing.

I spent a huge part of this summer telling myself and others that when I went into the master's program, I really didn't ever believe that I'd be a writer. I just loved books and words so damned much, I thought that if I got the degree, maybe they'd tell me the secret password--the one that would let me go to the other side where the fiction is, where all my long-lost friends are. Ben Hanscomb and Bill Denbrough, Beverly Marsh and the Loser's Club. Harry and Hermione and Ron. Henry and Claire DeTamble. Bunny and Richard and Charles and Camilla. Euripides and Zock and Harriet. And when I told people this, I got a little teary thinking of all those people I've loved and believed in, sometimes more than the actual people around me. I wish I could find them.

I do think that's true, that that's what I thought. Not on a conscious, crazy-person level, but way deep down. But I also think I was fueled by a wild hope that maybe...maybe I could do something I didn't know that I could do. And this feels like the gift I was waiting for. I don't care if this particular thing I'm writing will never leave my hands--I feel like if I do it, I break through--and I become the writer my degree claims I am.

It's all navel-gazing, I suppose. But I'm going to indulge myself for now.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

All the News That's Fit to Blog

This has been a lovely weekend, which Thomas and I totally deserved after a really crappy week that included the air being let out of my tires, a red-light ticket in the mail, and way too little sleep, among other things.

We stayed in all weekend and rested and I am feeling much better than usual on a Sunday night. Though that might be due to the fact that I tried the new "invigorating" diet pepsi today. Bring on the caffeine, indeed.

Today we celebrated my little sister-in-law, Jessica's 15th birthday. Happy Birthday, Jessica! We gave her a huge holographic Harry Potter standee from the 5th movie. I had to touch it a lot before we gave it to her, and I think a little bit of my heart is still in Boiling Spring Lakes with it.

Thomas's brother Chris brought the first oysters of the season and they were delish.

I'm relishing the new NaBloPoMo site and totally gearing up for some serious posting come November. One of my favorite parts of the new site is that we can add friends--and I'm loving getting to friend some of the bloggers I met last November.

Obligatory novel discussion that you are welcome to start ignoring: Finished chapter 20 and got a good start on 21 this weekend. I'm now on page 288. I can hardly believe it. Things have taken a really excellent turn, and some plot threads that I had been having trouble wrapping up have figured themselves out nicely.

Ooh! In further good news, I finally found a decent bra. Since Hanes discontinued my life-long favorite this year, I've been struggling to find a concoction of wire, spandex and cotton that could contain my rather monstrous rack. Hooray for Fruit of the Loom for bucking tradition and making bras with both underwires and diagonal seams and for making them in colors other than white and peach.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Slackity Slack

My sister pointed out to me today that I had not yet blogged this month. I immediately yelled that I had posted 6 times--SIX! And then realized it was October. Hrm. Time is flying.

I had hoped to be finished with the novel, but instead am on page 269, which is not bad, but not exactly where I'd hoped I'd be. I had hoped for a nice round 300...but it is clear that I'm not going to be able to wrap up in 30 pages...can't even see the end yet...ah, well. It's still fun. Though I'm getting up at 5:30 now, so as to be able to write before I go to work and 5:30 is not fun.

I'm mostly just very, very tired. I started my fall walking routine a month ago, and though I've set myself a nice, regimented schedule, just how I like things, I find I'm falling into bed exhausted--sleeping before I've fully hit the pillow. Right now the schedule is as follows:

5:30 Wake, feed dogs and turtle, check email, write for an hour, take a shower, dress.

7:30 Arrive at school. Teach.

3:00 Errands, if there are any. Check email again. Feed dogs and turtle. Otherwise writing until 5.

5:00 Walk four miles.

6:30 Eat. Converse with long-suffering husband.

8:30 Grade.

9:30 Lift weights.

10:00 Die.


School is good, but my 6 year-olds are so 6. So, so, so 6. Today I helped one of them make a book about disasters: I drew avalanches and blizzards, tsunamis and earthquakes, hurricanes and tornados...we even threw in a car crash for good measure. Sometimes I worry that I shouldn't indulge these morbid interests, but then, he'll learn about it all in science this year anyway. Well, not the car crashes.

I also found myself in an extended conversation with a 10 year old about neurotoxins today. I'm full of levity at school, apparently.