Category Archives: Uncategorized

Weekend Coffee Share: Is that Sunshine?

If we were having coffee I’d tell you that I actually started to write this post a week ago, and never got past the title. It’s been a bit of a rough week – just a lot going on, a lot of thinking on my part, and a lot of trying to get myself organized and put some things into place (it feels like I’m always doing that… but I do think that each time I try it does a little something!)

Next week is a busy week at my work, so I’m trying to spend this weekend getting things all set up so that the week can be a relaxing one outside of work. I’m hoping to do some sewing – which I haven’t gotten to do in a while – and also some editing and writing. I’ve missed doing my writing, and need to push myself to write more – be it blogging or fiction, the longer I let myself go without doing it the more challenging it becomes.

I’ve spent a lot of the week (and probably will spend more of the coming week) cuddling with the Midnight Monster.  While he’s returned to his usual, crazy, self (thank goodness! He took a while to get there and I was a bit worried), he’s also been a bit more willing to cuddle than he had before. I’ve been taking full advantage of that to steal some cuddle time. He’s got a great purr and I love when I get the chance to hear it!

I’ve been excited to see the sunshine a little more – even though we’re still getting plenty of rain (at least it isn’t snow?) there has also been some bits of sun which makes me super-happy! I am not a fan of super-warm weather, but I do like when I can wander outside without getting soaked.

What have you been up to in the past few weeks?  What does the spring have in store for you? Any plans?

 

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Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly chance to check in with our blogging community.  Hop around the internet and enjoy the hospitality of this great community with a casual chat. Started by Part-Time Monster, and now hosted by Nerd In The Brain this is a lovely community and a fun weekly check-in. Check out the link-up, and feel free to join in the fun!

 

 

Time to re-evaluate… again

Hi again! 

Yet another week with no Monday Updates, No Weekend Coffee Share and – be forewarned – there may not be a “Power of Art” this week. Oh, and I’m not sure when the next Passionate Geek will come.

My life has been in a bit of upheaval,and I’ve been trying to etch out time to figure just what it is that I want to be doing with my time. There are certainly things I would love to be focusing on with the blog here – that’s one of the things that is definitely in the mix – but I haven’t been doing those things.

Some of the reasons that I haven’t been doing those posts…. that’s also something I would like to write about….

So I’m in a point where I’m going to give myself a little bit of a clean slate. There are non-blog projects that need my attention, and what I am blogging needs some actual attention. It’s been a while since I’ve sat down and really dug into a topic.

Representation Matters will be continuing, and I have a few other guest posts in the works (though the timeline for them is a bit in the air). I’ll still be aiming for the Insecure Writer’s Support Group posts each month, and more often than not I intend to participate in  Weekend Coffee Share.

However, Power of Art and Passionate Geek will appear on a less regimented schedule, and – hopefully – other content will start trickling in.

Spring Cleaning, of sorts.

Insecure Writer’s Support Group: Picking up old work.

This is my monthly post as part of the Insecure Writer’s Support Group, a great group of supportive writers, helping one another through our writing ups-and-downs.

There is also a great Facebook Community for more daily connection!  More posts from the group are tagged on Twitter at #IWSG.

March: Have you ever pulled out a really old story and reworked it? Did it work out?

March’s question prompt once again fits perfectly with what I’ve been reflecting on lately.  You see, the story I’m working on right now is just that, a really old story that I pulled out and began to rework. Through all the revisions and writing over the past few years I haven’t actually done the truly hard work of reworking things that need to be fixed.  For instance, the beginning.

When I originally wrote this story it was a NaNo novel – so the first three pages are a story being told. When I first wrote this it had been the story, but I reached a point where I decided that I wanted to turn into a piece of the story and thus it became a moment of storytelling within the novel.

However, that meant that you spent the first three pages getting into one story, only to be yanked out and dropped into something else. And, while the story being told is relevant to the larger story, the relevance isn’t immediately apparent. Basically, I knew in the back of my head that I had to change that beginning, but I never could quite bring myself to do so.  I just loved the way it was written too much to cut it.

Not to mention the ongoing question that kept nibbling away at me. What if it really is the best piece of writing in the novel? What if it’s really important to show this whole story – if I cut it will it destroy what I’m setting up?  This concern expanded beyond the initial storytelling segment. The whole first chapter bounced between point-of-view without a care in the world. From one person’s thoughts to another — it’s told in third person so it’s pretty easy for me to slip and bounce about. Some of the things that came from that were beautiful, they made me smile and I really loved them… but it was awkward to read and hard to follow.

So, finally, I’ve revised. I’ve had enough distance (and heaven knows enough anxiety and uncertainty) about what I was going to do with those segments that I was able to look at them more objectively, take into account those things that I’d written and changed as the story progressed, and take the steps to make the changes that need to be made.

I don’t know if the changes are really the right ones. And I continue to face stalls as I let life derail me from my editing. But, slowly, I am taking steps to another draft.

Monday Updates… life updates

Clearly Monday updates didn’t happen again this week.  They will return, eventually… there is so much happening and so much for us to do.  But my indoor-only cat escaped on Sunday, and I have been in no state to get much work done at all – particularly any work that requires brain power (I was able to do some cleaning at least…). I’ve been doing a lot of searching, and re-searching. A lot of walking around looking for any signs of him. A lot of worrying, and distributing flyers.  I don’t know how much writing of any form I’ll be able to get done until he gets home… though I am certainly going to try to get back on track for Insecure Writer’s Support Group this week… I had such an extensive “to-do” list for this weekend that has not been able to get done.

So… yeah.  I’m here-ish, but only a little as I adjust to this limbo-time of waiting to see if he is spotted or if he wanders himself home.

Weekend Coffee Share: Playing Catchup

Welcome!

Sorry I missed last weekend, things have been kind of rough and busy!

I’ve been fighting a monster-cold, it just seems to be hanging on for dear life and refuses to let go. I ended up taking some time off work last week in order to try and sleep it off, which helped a little, but it still is trying its hardest to drag me down. I’ll keep fighting it though – as much as I love the idea of sleeping all day for a few days in a row I just can’t keep it up if I hope to complete any other productive work.

Last weekend I also attended Wizard World Comic Con here in Portland as a vendor (running a Jamberry table). I’m working on a write-up about my experience to post over at Comparative Geeks, but it was a pretty cool experience, a lot of fun but super-exhausting for me!

This weekend I have plans. I’m going to dig my room out of the mess it’s become, which will hopefully include putting yet more items into the “I can get rid of this” pile. My aim is to get rid of enough of the clutter that I can actually work in the space I have… I’m also thinking about doing a little room rearranging again… my current arrangement is nice, but the desk I’m using isn’t really working for me, and my current set-up interferes with easy window access.  Since I’ll be getting a catio built this summer (which will also give me a place to sit outside just out my window!) I want to make sure that I can access it easily.

If I’m being honest, rearranging my room will easily turn into a full-weekend ordeal (it usually does) and I won’t actually get anything else on my to-do list done. But, I’m going to pretend that I will get other things done, because I like to pretend I can do ALL THE THINGS at once.

I have a long list of blog-posts I want to work on, both for here and to share on other blogs. I need to do some more Jamberry work (we’ve got a new catalog coming out March 1st so there’s all sorts of exciting things around that!). I desperately want to get back to the editing/rewriting of my Work-In-Progress which has fallen seriously behind any schedule I was trying to keep. And then there’s the reading, of course… so much reading that I want to do!

On Monday I’m taking Midnight Monster to the vet again, this time for a teeth-cleaning. At his yearly check-up/shots visit a few weeks ago they said his teeth looked mostly good, with just a little build-up on one side. I’m hoping I can get them cleaned this year and then not have to worry about it for a good long time. Since he absolutely refuses to eat wet food that bodes well!

Yeah… that was the other thing that took some of my time recently. After taking Midnight Monster to the vet early this month he developed a sneeze. I called them and they let me know what to look for, but it continued and seemed to increase so I took him in for a check-up (a person can only take cat-sneezes to the face so many times…). They gave me some supplements to give him, which helped a bit, but I also discovered that he’s learned a new trick. When he gets really scared or upset (which seems to happen when I put him in his crate and start the car) he sprays. Ick ick ick… I’m hoping to find a way to avoid this on the way in to the vet on Monday…. And I am just super-thankful that he doesn’t spray any other times but, ugh.

So, how have you been? What have you been up to? Any plans for the coming week?

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Weekend Coffee Share is a weekly chance to check in with our blogging community.  Hop around the internet and enjoy the hospitality of this great community with a casual chat. Started by Part-Time Monster, and now hosted by Nerd In The Brain this is a lovely community and a fun weekly check-in. Check out the link-up, and feel free to join in the fun!

Representation Matters: Confronting Privilege with Grace

Or, how to not be an asshole when you screw up.

Representation Matters is a series that explores topics of representation in writing and art. Our first guest-poster, who will explore the topic over the next few months, is Rebecca Croteau. Rebecca is an avid writer, reader and knitter, who is also quite active on Twitter.

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If you’re still here with this series, I’m going to make some basic assumptions about who you are as a writer. If you’re still here, I’m assuming that you agree that we need more diverse literature, especially for kids, and that if you are a writer who is trying to write about an experience other than your own (or even your own!) you should have someone who has had that experience vet your manuscript to look for any obvious or harmful errors you’re making. This is called a sensitivity read, and the person who performs it is a sensitivity reader.

This is no different from having a police expert look over your crime scenes or a forensic pathologist discuss your character’s autopsy report. Absolutely no different.

I’m glad we’re on the same page. Now that we agree, I want to talk about what happens when your sensitivity reader says those fateful words: You’ve fucked up. They’re not words that a writer wants to hear, clearly, though as we discussed last time, the earlier in the process you hear them, the better.

They’re words I heard just this week, in fact. In an erotica novella, I have a fat character, and while I am not the skinniest of people, I am not someone who would classically be defined as fat, nor am I a cis man, so I wanted to make sure I was getting a couple of scenes right.

I wasn’t. So let’s talk about how this went down. I am going to be deliberately vague here; I have no interest in pointing fingers at the person who is kind enough to read for me and say they did a bad thing by pointing out where I fucked up. I also do not want to sound like I think I’m some kind of saint for being decent and committing to fixing the mistakes I made. This is just about how this conversation went well, and what could have gone differently to derail it and make it a miserable experience for both me and my reader.

Can we talk a minute?

Maybe it’s just me, but whenever I hear this phrase, I always know that the conversation that’s about to follow is going to be a little bit stressful. It’s probably because the indication that the speaker needs my attention for a period of time shows that they’re trying to make sure we’re not going to be interrupted. In this case, I was quite glad my reader started here; I got a quick minute to prep for the idea that I’d made a mistake.

Why did you make this choice?

The reader was approaching me about a specific scene I’d written in a specific way. They asked why I’d had the character discuss a particular thing.

I will be honest here; my first thought was to throw someone else under the bus. The passage that the reader was pointing out had been inserted at the request of someone else, but as soon as I started to say that, I realized that I was completely out of line.

I explained to the reader: “You know, I initially inserted that conversation because of feedback I received from someone else, but as I’m typing this to you, I’m realizing that this is really problematic.”

The reader’s response was agreement. There it was, right on the table. I fucked up.

It’s really hard as a writer to fuck up. I always feel a number of things, very fast; it’s my world, how can I possibly fuck up? If I built this character, how can I be wrong? It’s my story, dammit.

Guess what: every one of those impulses is incredibly wrong. I wanted to lash out, say that my scene was absolutely NOT problematic, I HAD been told to write it that way, and—and—

If I’d done that, I would have lost a friend, a reader, and a valuable opportunity to make my story much better.

Instead of lashing out, I sat my ass down (both physically and metaphorically). My reader explained why the scene didn’t ring true to them. They said that even if the character might feel the way I’d written them, I was not the right person to tell that story. I let them say their piece, and when I sensed that they’d said what they needed to say, I thanked them. I said I appreciated their feedback, and committed to fixing the scene. I apologized for the harm I’d caused them in writing something that was hurtful. I said that the trust they’d shown in offering me guidance in fixing it was incredibly meaningful to me.

And problem solved.

No, seriously. No one lashed out at anyone else on Twitter, no one screaming, no subtweeting, no messes, no shouting. No “policing” or “censoring.” I got the scene wrong, and I took a deep breath and dealt with it like a damn adult who got a scene wrong. Because – and I know this hurts to hear, fellow writers – our characters aren’t actually real people.

But our readers are. And when we write things that hurt our readers, when we hurt real people, we’re doing the opposite of what we’re supposed to be doing as writers.

So I’m taking a book that I thought was nearly done and doing another editing pass. I’m more than okay with this. It’ll be a better book that will be less harmful when it’s done. And that’s worth as many edits as are needed.

 

Why Do You Follow Eclectic Alli?

Hi!
So, I’ve been doing some thinking and reflecting about my blog over the past year – as part of a larger reflection and thinking about what I’m doing in my life and the directions I want to go.  One of the problems with being such an eclectic individual is that it becomes quite easy to be drawn in a million different directions, equally passionate and excited about a whole array of different projects, topics, and possibilities. Which, in my case, means I often end up chasing them all in bits and pieces and never quite settle or complete any one.

So I’m trying to figure out how I want to move forward, with the blog and with what I am doing in my “free” time. One of the sad truths about me is that I care WAY too much about other people’s opinions (to the point of assuming judgement’s exist from others when they may not – but that’s a WHOLE other topic of conversation).

However, a place where caring about what others think that is actually important is here on my blog – because I really am wanting to write this not just for me, but for all of you who are reading it.  To that end, I’m curious what kinds of things bring you all back to the blog. What things would you like to see more of?  What would you like to see less of?
Let me know in the comments!