no good deed goes unpunished

So, I’ve been spending my spare time on the maddening task of trying to copy a painting I did years ago (except on a smaller scale) and it totally sucks ass. The original is acrylic and because I am a master procrastinator, I put off starting it until acrylic was my only option if I’m to have it ready by Christmas. (This is for my daughter…she plans to give it as a gift to someone who had seen and liked the original.)

Nothing like spending hours working with a medium I a hate (after years of working with oil, I have totally lost my acrylic mojo) but also using a frustrating medium on a painting that I’m bored with before I ever put brush to canvas. Did I mention that this whole project totally sucks ass?

But, I love my daughter and it’s the season of giving and all that crap, so I’m happy to do it, damn it! Plus, it has been providing an excellent excuse not to work on the book-edit-from-hell. However, since I hope to finish tomorrow, I will probably have to either go back to working on the book, or come up with some new crazy-ass thing. I’m betting I’ll work on the book, but you can’t completely rule out the crazy-ass thing. This is me, after all.

I hope all ten many of you are well and having a happy holiday season. I may whine about this painting-which-totally-sucks-ass and the novel-edit-from-hell, but not for one minute have I forgotten how blessed that I truly am. My family, my friends, my dogs, my home, my job, my health…blah blah blah… you get the picture. Sigh. It really is all good.

And just because I think this is random and funny and awful all at the same time:

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same song, second verse

The viral adventures continue around here, however we have had a switch from the respiratory system to the gastrointestinal system. Oh, how naive were my complaints about my little cold.

In a Crocodile Dundee-eqsque “Haha…That’s not a knife. This is a knife,” type of move, fate stepped up on Saturday night and said, “That’s not suffering. This is suffering.”

Saturday night, while this virus made multiple attempts to completely empty out my digestive tract, I did have one interesting discovery: If you eat several Mike and Ikes before being struck down by Crocodile-Dundee’s-stomach-virus-from-hell, you will have really pretty rainbow puke the first time you throw-up.

Now really, the funniest thing about the following clip is the funky jive music they start playing when Dundee scares the gangbanger (who happens to look like he just stepped out of an Olivia Newton John video…ha!)

into the woods…

While waiting for the critiques of my manuscript, I’ve been venturing into the woods of my next book…considering characters and their motivations…daydreaming about plot paths… I’m trying to keep things casual; it’s not time for me to telling any tales about these people yet. But I’m dropping breadcrumbs to make sure I can find my way back when it’s time.

Meanwhile a second critique (thank you H—-) of my manuscript has arrived! Another very thoughtful and thought-provoking critique. I have such freakin’ smart readers helping me here. I obviously still have some work left to do on the book, but both of the test dummies readers who’ve finished the book have given me some great ideas of how to improve the novel. Yeah!

One of the things that I’ve discovered is that creating an unreliable first person narrator is tricky. When the character’s actions don’t really mesh with her inner thoughts, it can make the character’s voice feel uneven. Here she’s thinking she’s so tough, and then in a fight with her boyfriend she doesn’t act very tough.  Hmmmm….  The problem is, that’s what I want, but I want the reader to understand that she’s unreliable, not think that I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing (which may well be the case, but I don’t want the reader to know that.)

Several writers I admire make creating an unreliable narrator look easy, but here I am discovering that it’s more difficult than it seems. Reader H—- (Goldilocks) found that in some scenes the protagonist was tooooo tough, but in other scenes she was tooooo soft.  Now I just need to pay attention to the scenes that were baby-bear juuuust right so I can fix the others. I can do this…as my late father would tell me, “That’s no hill for a stepper.”

And so I searched for Goldilocks on youtube and mostly came up with exactly the lame videos you’d expect…except I also foud THIS!

See…I KNEW there was a reason I needed an iPhone!

crazy new shit

Now, you’re probably not going to find anybody who is less flexible and less coordinated than I am. However, there’s probably also not anybody who is more of a sucker than I am when it comes to buying self-improvement crap stuff.

So, here’s my latest crazy new shit: I signed up for 30 days of yoga.  (I did the Karma edition, of course, because…well it does sound cooler, right?)

Anyhoo, this was a couple weeks ago and I thought I would have already been started on the videos that will have me flopping around on the living room floor, but apparently the first several days of the class are composed of emails to prepare us for successful floor flopping. These emails have explained how I should spend some time either walking on the beach (I’m serious, it said this. As if I would need to take an online yoga class to relax if I could walk on a beach whenever I felt like it) or sitting quietly in my living room (okay, more reasonable, although I do have trouble sitting quietly–ask anyone) to think deep thoughts about my intent.

I could be wrong, but I’m pretty sure that she doesn’t really want to hear about how the night I signed up, I had just eaten most half of a giant tres leches cake at Chuys and when I clicked on that payment button my intent was mostly to ameliorate the lingering feeling of bloaty-regret. So I have been spending some time walking on the beach, sitting here at the dining room table, thinking up a new intent that sounds more karma-yoga-ish than to punish myself for indulging in an awesome (yet overly large) desert.

The thing is, I’ve always wanted to be a person who does yoga and meditates and drinks exotic loose leaf-teas and is, I don’t know, calm and present-in-the-moment and filled with buddhisty-type wisdom. And not be the crazy-ass me who is exactly the opposite of every single one of those things except that I have used loose-leaf teas before but not very often because really I hate to clean out the teapot.

Sigh.

So I’ll keep you updated on my crazy new shit when it actually starts. On another note, all my manuscripts have been distributed to their readers…so I’ll let you know about that same old shit as soon as I know something.

Okay…now this is just scary:

advice ignored and movies watched

Okay, just finished draft número tres. Three down, how many to go?

I have no idea. ¡Ay, caramba!

I’m snow-blind with this manuscript right now…I can’t even see the words. And man oh man I’m tired of it. I just keep trying to focus on how much I’m learning about the editing process and not focus on the fact that, as far as I can tell right now, I have written the most boring, stupid book ever written by any person ever. Ever.

I’m starting to wonder if I shoulda taken this guy’s advice.

On another, less whiny note, we’ve seen a couple of good movies lately. We saw Moneyball last weekend and I enjoyed it even though it was very basebally and I’m not a huge baseball fan. And this past Saturday we went to see 50/50, and I highly recommend it. Hubby said he saw 50/50 described as The Hangover meets Terms of Endearment. I don’t know about that, but I do know that you should go see it.