Sunday, November 28, 2010

Tales From NaNo, the End.

What, already??

I'll admit, none of my wordiness went into this blog for the past month. And I'll further admit that it was kind of nice to take a brief hiatus while I launched pell-mell into an insane amount of creativity.

The past month has been very busy, in very many ways. I'm making my very first pot of homemade turkey stock just today. I baked a few loaves of bread. I scrambled more than a few eggs. I've also started and finished several knitting projects, helped my dad make the pumpkin pies for Thanksgiving this year, and worked on not going crazy.

But NaNo was a big part of the month, obviously. 50,000 words is nothing to sniff at. And for the first time in my life I have a novel that is more than just a collection of writing exercises. It's the beginning--the seed, if you will--of an extraordinary opportunity to rewrite and mold until a novel possibly emerges. How wonderful!

Halfway through my novel, I experienced a character coup. My 20-something librarian main character told me very plainly that she wasn't going to do anything else in my story. Nothing. Standstill. It was awful. So I struck her with amnesia, had her wander off into the sunset, and took stock of my options.

In the end, I promoted my 60-year old supporting character to the spotlight. And BOY was she a heck of a lot more entertaining! I ended up naming the whole bloody novel after her! And though I have a million things to rewrite (including...all of part one?) and a million ends to tie up, at least now I know where I'm going. Because I went! And I conquered!

So here's to all of the NaNoers who embarked on such a foolhardy and fantastic mission, this month! It's been fun, and it's only the beginning.

And good news...the blog is probably officially revived, as of now. Because where else am I gonna shove all of the writing I need to do on a daily basis? ;D

Thanks for the patience. Hope a few of you are still with me!

-The GLS

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Ballad of the Kettle (A NaNo Tale).

Everyone who has done NaNo before knows that you need a few things in order to be successful. Grit, determination, and a mindless disregard for your own mental well-being are chief among them.

But another thing that is essential? Your inspiring drink of choice.

I dare not assume what that might be for other people, but for me? It's tea. Tea of all kinds. And for a very long time, the only way I could rely on a steady source of tea at all hours of the day or night was my beloved Braun electric kettle. It boiled water within moments, gave a nice CLICK when it was done, and never gave me problems or talked back. For at least three years, we were happy together.

Until a few days ago, when the poor thing started leaking from its base. Suddenly everything changed. It was no longer my loyal companion. And a quick Internet search revealed that OTHER people had experienced the same with THEIR Braun kettles.

I was crushed, but I started the search for a new kettle. I thought I had ended it last night when I bought a black Proctor Silex for a lovely $20--so inexpensive, I thought! But so necessary, right?


I pulled it out of its box and it was...large. Really large. Tall, really. Tower-like. And shiny and black and

I named it Darth Vader, laughed a little, and tried to settle it in on my desk. But it wouldn't settle. I didn't like it. I didn't like the looks it kept giving me. It wasn't friendly, like my Braun. It kept glancing at my laptop, like at the first opportunity it was going to fall over and douse my MacBook with boiling water. Malevolent and angry. I wondered what had been done to it in its past to make it so aggressive.

I resolved that it simply could not stay. This morning I packaged it back up. It snarled at me as I closed the lid on the box, but I was adamant. No more angry kettles in MY room.

After returning the Proctor Silex with no problems, I headed over to the wonderful Land of Target. I perused their offering of kettles, mostly unimpressed. There were some very dignified metal ones, and some happy-go-lucky white ones, and some more aggressive black plastic ones like the Proctor Silex.

And then...oh, then...that's when I saw him.

He was sitting there SO demurely, humbly, just waiting for me to notice him. His cheery red exterior and kettle-shape said, "I'm happy if you're happy!" but his all-stainless steel makeup stated, "I'm very serious about boiling water for you."

His entire appearance, automatic shut-off feature, drip-free spout, cord-free serving, and concealed heating element (plus his meager $35 pricetag) said, "You want me."

And I did. And I do.

To my beloved Braun: Thank you for your wonderful years of service. You have given me tea, soup, hot chocolate, and oatmeal. You showed me that hot water does NOT always come from a stove or a microwave. You opened my eyes, you carried me through.

Welcome, Hamilton Beach. Together we will conquer NaNo 2010...and the world!

Now. Where my tea?

-The GLS

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Tales From NaNo, Part 1.

I know what you're thinking...why the HECK am I posting on my blog instead of tap-tap-tapping away at my NaNoWriMo novel?

Because, like the hare of racing legend, I am WAY ahead of my necessary wordcount and need to take a moment to breathe. Hopefully not too long a moment, otherwise the tortoise of my lazy brain will overtake me completely, and it will be too late.

Also, the NaNoWriMo servers are busy (not surprising, considering how many people are doubtless visiting it right now), so I can't comfort myself with forum-surfing and staring happily at my own displayed wordcount.

But I must say, I AM a little dear electric tea kettle has a leak in the bottom. This makes it not only difficult to use, but an electrical hazard. So my supply of hot water at all hours of the night has been cut off. Want to know how to make me grumpy? Cut off my tea supply. That'll do it.

However, I shall prevail! I will vanquish NaNo like only the Gutsy Little Shit can! I will take it down to the ground! I will conquer!

Now, if you'll excuse me. I must plug in to my iPod, tune out of the world, and give my wordcount at least two hours of boost. See you on the other side...

-The GLS

PS: Congrats to all of you Americans who voted! Though I got my vote in a very short time before the ballot boxes closed, I am proud to say that my vote was present and accounted for. It's a hard-won right, people! Exercise it!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Spinach, Honey, and Stevie Nicks.

Work ended a bit early, today, in honor of Halloween. I think this is somewhat silly, truth be told, because I was never all that into Halloween. True enough, I enjoyed getting candy as much as the next kid, but it didn't keep me up nights dreaming and wishing the way, say, Christmas might have.


I got home and realized all I really wanted to do was...brace yourselves...go buy my weight in secondhand books and LPs.

So by golly, I did.

Currently, Fleetwood Mac's "Rumours" (50 cents!!) is crooning from the phonograph in the corner and I'm a happy, spoiled little gal. Four LPs and at least five or six new books. Plus I stopped at Jo-Ann's and got myself a new stitch counter (to replace the one the fairies stole) and a new circular knitting needle. Rawr, life is good!

But I got home at 8:30 and realized I hadn't eaten a thing. My, my...what to do? Experiment? Forsooth!

Sautee three diced cloves of garlic in some olive oil, add a box of Trader Joe's chicken stock (how I love it so), season with salt, black pepper, and red pepper, then once it's boiling nicely add in a lot of frozen spinach, mixed tricolor kidney beans, and a beaten egg.

Dinner of champions. Especially with a glass of sweet Riesling and some whole wheat crackers slathered with sunflower seed butter. Gosh, I'm still experiencing the joy.

For the record (ha, get it?), I'm a bit in awe of the fact that I've recognized every song so far on Rumours' A-side. This doesn't usually happen to me. I follow a pretty strict "Do not buy the record unless you know and love at least two songs on said record", and I've toed the line quite a bit on a few purchases. But this one is in no danger, on that front.

Have a great weekend, y'all. I fully intend to.

-The GLS
(NaNoWriMo starts in a few days!! AHHHHHH!!)

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Impatience Is My Virtue.

I'm not tired.

I'm what you might call weary. I feel weary. Which is different than tired. Tired can be a good, satisfying feeling. Weariness just feels like a weighty version of tired.

But before I sign off to assuage my weariness with the balm of sleep, a list entitled "I Want":

1) I want to simplify.
2) I want to grow things.
3) I want to feel the seasons change at their fullest depth and know they're changing NOT because the calendar told me so but because I experience it.
4) I want to be off the grid.
5) I want to remember what it feels like to be excited by snow, but also respect it for the power it can be.
6) I want to nestle deep into the earth.
7) I want to put down roots.
8) I want to begin, continue, and complete, then begin again.
9) I want to set a feast before friends and family.
10) I want it all right now.


That #10 is a kicker. It really is.

-The GLS

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The Lotto Man Cometh.

My, my. What a world, what a life.

This has been a crazy, crazy weekend. Between the storm front outside and the hurricane INSIDE, I haven't quite known what to do with myself.

I said in my last blog post something about cleaning my room. And I made all sorts of quips about how it would be a bloody fight, and blah blah blah.

Let me make this clear: I was kidding. Joking. Making jest.

But it has been no joke, this room cleaning business.

For serious, I took almost everything out of my room, moved furniture around, pitched stuff I didn't want anymore, vacuumed the heck out of whatever was left, threw dust in the air, organized my bookshelf, found space for my great-great-grandma's rocking chair, took my desk apart, cocked my bed perpendicular to the window, took everything off of my walls, gave my record player its own surface, gave myself a nightstand for the first time ever, and finally removed every trace of my color-scheme from eight years ago (including a dark green area rug and a dark green bedskirt that had been clinging to this room for FAR too long).

And, today.

I bought stuff. Two new lamps, a new rug, a wicker hamper (for the end of my bed), a new bedskirt, and a new doormat. Holy cow, I'm on a roll, and my room looks brand new! Very exciting. Especially if you're me.

So I'm sitting in the newly-feng-shui'd-wreckage and surveying my castle and thinking lovely thoughts.

It's funny how a new space can give you a new feeling about, well, everything. Like I'm starting over, in some way. Feels almost like a new me. But it's not. It's the old me with a cooler room.

Oh, and did I mention I'm full of Guinness stew? Shoot, what a great way to end the weekend.

Hope everyone else is as contented as I am at this moment. Please say that you are. I care about you. All of you, whoever you are. :)

Love to you and yours,
-The GLS

Friday, October 22, 2010

Miss Clean Jeans.

Funny, isn't it? We have these ideas for how we want life to look, and it doesn't pan out the way you planned.

Actually I'm not being sweeping and profound, here. I'm talking very specifically about the appalling state my bedroom/bathroom is in.

Really, it's awful.

And I ought to know better. How old am I...22, now? Yes, 22. I really ought to have more gratitude for what I've been given, and be more inclined toward organization, and blah blah blah...

But really, I don't think my awfully messy room has anything really to do with a lack of gratitude for what I have. I think I just have WAY TOO MUCH STUFF.

So tomorrow? Oh, tomorrow. Tomorrow is Saturday. A Saturday with nothing but family plans to look forward to, later in the day. Which means...what?

It means, the battle begins tomorrow. The war, if you will. The crusade against the terrible state my room is in.

If I don't return by Monday...this means the room has won, and you will find me buried under a pile of shoes, tinwhistles, and miscellaneous papers including bank statements and artwork from four-year-old Picassos.

Gird yourself.

-The GLS