I bring you your ink

Writing shrine

New grotto/shrine for Thoth from The Fable Tribe.

I’ve kind of fallen off the bandwagon of the photo-a-day thing for this year.  I always like the idea of doing it, and take photos happily for a few weeks and then end up just standing and staring at the same things in the house, thinking that they’re boring.

I think it mostly just reflects how much of a hermit I am, really.  I will keep on taking occasional photos, I think, but not hold myself to taking one every day.

It’s been an interesting last few weeks.  Went through some medical testing last week (which has, pending some other tests, revealed nothing dire, which is something).  I have my first chest infection of the year right now, which is just *awesome*.  I’m hoping that it’ll pass quickly, but possibly not, since I’m immunosuppressed right now, and will probably need antibiotics.  Autoimmune diseases suck.

I have been writing, and holding to achieving 10,000 words per week.  Still working on Shaede, and feeling really happy with it.  I think it may end up being a bit longer than I’d planned, but we’ll see.  I am going to need to hunt up some new beta readers once this draft is done, I think, since everyone who’s betaed for me in the past is probably sick of reading this one (though you’re all welcome to beta again if you like!).

Trying to get myself back into a posting schedule

Busselton Jetty

The view looking back along the Busselton Jetty, taken last week.

The last few months I haven’t been great about keeping up here.  I have been blogging elsewhere privately, but most of that has just been noting the day-to-days.  Dealing with a kid who has night terrors and nightmares.  Dealing with recent exacerbations of chronic illness, and potentially developing new chronic illness (hooray…or something).  And in the midst of that, writing.

I’m hoping to get back into some kind of a schedule.  Also getting back to posting my links again, because that actually forces me to keep up with my rss feeds.

In news of the good, we managed to actually get away for our first family holiday – first down to Busselton for a few days, and then down to Gracetown to stay with a bunch of friends for a few more days.  And oh gods, I didn’t realise how much easier it was to be on holidays with other families.  The kids entertain themselves!  We actually got to relax!!  Sleep, not so much, for me, since I don’t sleep well away from home anyway, and the kidlet has some spectacular night terrors due to ending up overtired and overstimulated.  The end result is that I now have a tonne of photos to go through.

I have Plans for the next year.  Moving on with the writing, but moving on with other things as well.  My OBOD work, reading and reviewing more, getting back to making jewellery and toying with the idea of learning a new craft.  I can’t believe that this year is almost over.  It hasn’t been a bad one, but I feel like I should have accomplished more.  Life with chronic illness, though.  You don’t always get that choice.  And I am acutely aware, writing that, that I am seriously privileged when it comes to my illness.  I have a husband who supports me, I don’t have to work outside the home, and my mother helps with the kidlet so I can write.

This is when it gets hard

I don’t want to blog today.  But I have committed myself to blogging every day, and so blog I shall.  Even though it feels most of the time like throwing words out into the aether.

I don’t want to blog because I am vaguely sore from impending Weather (though the pain has actually let up a bit now, which indicates that the barometric pressure has risen a bit), I still have a lingering head cold, and I’ve just finished a writing session and I feel like I have no more words.

There’s a lot of stuff I want to blog about, and I will.  I want to talk about my experiences with postnatal depression, with parenting, with writing.  Sometimes it feels like I’m the All Chronic Illness All the Time channel, and yanno, that can get pretty damn boring.

So I have written, and I have run errands (including seeing the aftermath of someone driving their car into the side of the shopping centre – no one hurt, thankfully, decent amount of property damage and a driver in serious shock).  And soon I will go and read and meander about the net a bit, refilling the well.  Later, weather providing, there will be a walk.

The husband and I watched the first episode of Continuum last night.  Which has potential, but was a bit eh at this stage.  I’m happy to give it a few episodes.  It makes me a bit sad that so much speculative television series end up being mediocre, and I think I always have high hopes.  We’ll see, though.  I’m interested, but not really hooked as of yet.

We’re going to the zoo…

To celebrate my birthday this week we decided to take the kidlet to the zoo for the first time on Saturday.

I think he was more enamoured of the fact that we went on a bus, train and ferry to get there, and of the other kids at the zoo, than the animals themselves 😉  But he did like the meerkats and some of the small monkeys and he seemed to love the nocturnal house.

And – so cute – on the way home he turned around and asked “Go zoo again?”.  Heh.

I took a bunch of photos that I need to spend some time processing, but here are a few:

 

Kangaroo

Kangaroo who thought it was a cat, sleeping in the pathway.

Cheetah

Cheetah

Jump, and then you get your wings

365:1 Jilly snoozing

An old photo of Jilly sleeping. I haven't had the camera out much this week again, so you get an old photo.

I need to get the camera out more again.  I may actually start up a photo a day project again, because I’ve been neglecting photos so much.

This has been a rough week.  My pain and fatigue levels have been high post-Swancon, to the point where I actually took a full sick day yesterday and did nothing.  I feel better for it, too, and hopefully after the weekend, I shalll be recovered enough to get stuck into work again properly.

Links, which are for the last two weeks, since I neglected them last week (since I was at Swancon!):

Tansy Rayner Roberts rounds up a lot of links in Friday is an imperfect feminist but tries hard.

Theodora Goss talks about the real problem of finding energy to write.

Sarah Wilson: Jump, and then you get your wings.

A season in hell. (trigger warning for talk of cancer and surgery and illness).

An invocation for beginnings.

When I feel stuck or stumped, I got for a stroll.

Duck hunting, and why we should care about our awards.

Ten commandments for editing someone else’s work.

The narrative of women in fear and pain.

Depression and faulty core beliefs.

Why are mums so hesitant to view their male partners as full, competent parents?

A look at the Aurealis Awards gender stats.

Are you afraid of aging?

5 books that could change your creative game.

Amanda Palmer talks about first world problems.

Time management for the self-employed.

4 relationship mistakes you don’t know you’re making.

The top 10 books every mama should read.

Justine Musk on creativity and finding your inner freak.

How to create characters who fascinate.

Something has to happen.

Final edits – what do you look for?

3 questions you must ask your characters.

 

 

 

 

 

In which I am a bundle of squee

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Loot! Everything but the bottom three books from the con bag.

This morning I woke up to see the Hugo nominations have been announced.  I am full of fangirl squee to see so many awesome people and books and publications on there.  So happy to see awesome podcasts like Galactic Suburbia and SF Squeecast, and Cat Valente and Among Others and Mur Lafferty and and and!

And I have promptly gone and bought myself a supporting membership so I can vote 🙂

And in even more squee, I went to Swancon yesterday!  And for once didn’t come away with a ridiculous amount of books.  I did splurge a little and buy the limited hardcover of Kim Wilkins’ The Infernal from Ticonderoga, as well as Damnation and Dames, which was the one book I’d gone intending to buy.  I also indulged in buying some books for other people, including completing a friend’s set of Tansy Rayner Roberts’ Creature Court trilogy and buying another friend Joanne Anderton’s Debris.  I so love buying books for other people, especially when I know they’re in situations where they can’t indulge.

(And in an interlude of cute, the husband just opened his collection of Dr Who minifigs for the two-year old to see, and the kidlet is now playing with the ninth doctor and eleventh doctor.  We start them young here.)

Swancon was awesome, mostly because the wonderful Ju introduced me around a lot.  I got to have an awesome chat with Marianne de Pierres, who is just amazing and wonderful.  And I managed to attend only one panel, and only because I was on it 😉  And it was tremendous fun, and I kind of want to do more panels now.

I will likely try to make some more coherent blog posts this week, but I am proud of myself for going, since social anxiety has kept me away from things like this for so long.  And though I am tired and sore and need some serious introvert recharging time, I am very, very glad that I went.

The past does not define you, the present does.

Gantheaume Point

Gantheaume Point, one of my favourite places. Old photo, because I didn't have the camera out much this week.

This has been an odd week.  Much pain again, with the arthritis flaring with the change of weather.  I think summer is finally gone, with the nights getting cooler and the days milder.  It’s been lovely to not have to hide away in air conditioning all day, and to have fresh air flowing through the house constantly.  The great shift in my exercise routine is happening, too: no more swimming, and building up my tolerance for walking instead.  I am entertaining the idea of purchasing an exercise bike for rainy days, but slightly put off by the prices, especially of recumbent models, which I am drawn towards.

There has been writing, and I’ve been happy with the quality, but not quantity of it.  My pace is much, much slower that I use to write.  But I suppose that I should be thankful that I’m writing at all.  Between pain, a two-year-old and everything else, it would be very easy to just stop and stare at daytime television all day.

I have been devoting a decent amount of energy to uncluttering, which is a very satisfying thing.  We’re not messy people, but there are places in the house that get cluttered with stuff, and when they’re clean and tidy, things feel much better.  I have a massive list of things I’d like to do around the house (painting, for one, she says, eyeing off the horrid yellow walls in this room) but I’m tackling them in small pieces. They all add up.

Watching a child in their second year of life is incredible.  Especially when said child is sleeping well, and therefore the rest of us are sleeping well 😉  He’s developing such an imagination – he re-enacts scenes with his trains, and tells us that Totoro lives in every big tree he sees 🙂  He still remains one of the cuddliest kids I’ve ever known, too, which is just delightful.  Hard to think that in a few years he’ll be in school.

Links of the week:

4 ways to hack into your mind and become infinitely more creative.

How to become a real writer.

10 books every fantasy author should read.

Making art, making magic.

Why it’s good to give your stuff for free.

10 secrets to creating unforgettable supporting characters.

How to create story structure to die for.

You must engage your creative side.

How I wrote Doll Bones (Holly Black talking word count).

An exceedingly simple guide to keeping a journal.

How to make a living as a writer, part one.  Part Two.

How will we get around in the post-apocalypse?

I want to make this for my kid: Narnia-themed playroom.

 

 

Nothing ever goes away until it has taught us what we need to know.

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Awesome is having an artist friend who comes over and draws Totoros with chalk on the paving for your kid.

 

Not the best or the most productive of weeks, thanks to a flare up of arthritis pain.  But I managed to write every day, and to stick to not breaking the chain.  I am officially giving myself the weekend off from work, though – today the husband and I are going to see The Hunger Games in Gold Class, and tomorrow is massage day.

In good news, the pain seems to be less today, so hopefully I’ll be back to being productive next Monday.

Links!

Housing and dreaming community.

The gift of tabula rasa.

Inside an artist colony.

A three-step algorithm for happiness.

Train your brain for monk-like focus.

Cycle to work at your home office.

Does accepting limitations make us weaker?

What’s the value of SF/F awards to the community?

6 simple ways to release flow.

Struggle is a sure sign you’re making art.

 

Holding the world against the wind

life support

Photo by the amazing Brooke Shaden.  If you’ve never seen her work before, go and look!

I feel like I’m spreading myself too thin again, and that there’s not enough hours in the day for what I want to get done.  I want to write, I want to read, I want to organise the house, I want to play with the kidlet, I want to get the garden sorted out, I want I want I want…

I need to breathe.

 

We walk through the wood, never wondering what lies beyond. But we will all go there, one day.

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Things which keep me grounded; the view from the kitchen: tea, geekery, a kidlet not eating his breakfast

 

This has been a hard week.  Two lights lost to the world and moving beyond, two new holes in the world.  I wish I could physically be at the memorials for both.  My heart is there.

It feels somewhat wrong to be moving on (as it always does after a loss), but at the same time it feels right.  The loss of anyone is a reminder of what matters, to value those things in life.  To make our lives worthwhile.

I want to make my life mean something.  To be a good mother to that amazing kid above.  To be a good friend.  To write something that fills a hole in someone else’s life.

I will do these things.  I will make my time on this earth mean something.

On the mundane side, I have been keeping on with keeping on.  Still keeping my chains unbroken, and this week finally getting around to trialling the Pomodoro technique.  Much modified (which for me means that I pretty much only get one or two pomodoros in per day) but so far it’s working pretty well.

Some links for the week:

10 amazing real-world locations for fantasy worldbuilding.

Sometimes what feels like surrender isn’t surrender at all.

Dystopia and the ferris wheel effect.

Are the nutritionists lying to us?

The things that save us.

Are we too obsessed with happiness?

The five best productivity methods.

The art of being fearless.

On piracy and copyright and file sharing and free speech.